Monday, June 7, 2010

Rollie Pollie Bug Hotel

Can we move your rocks so we can find 
Rollie-Pollie bugs?"

I nod a quick "yes" and then add with a smile 
"Be sure to put the rocks back in place when you're done." 
Who can say no to such cute grandkids! 

They love to watch the Pill Bugs curl into balls and feel the tickle 
as they crawl over their hands. 
Sometimes they have Rollie Pollie races. Ah-h-h to be a child again!

 Pill Bug aka Rollie Pollie
Armadillilium vulgare 

The Summer ritual of my grandchildren Bug Hunting in my gardens is one that I cherish, perhaps because of my own fascination for all things living.  And I love the thought of my grandchildren inheriting some of my genes. I must admit, however, that it really bugs me when they forget to put the rocks back in place.

A Sunbathing Rollie Pollie

One day as I was weeding around the Sea Thrift I discovered the secret gathering place of all the Pill Bugs in my yard.

Pink Sea Thrift  
Armeria Maritima 'Laucheana'

aka The Rollie Pollie Hotel
It's actually a franchise as there are at least twelve such hotels spaced throughout my gardens as to provide the ultimate in Rollie Pollie Bug comfort. I haven't actually counted them but I know there are many.  Whenever they get too large I simply divide them and start another one or two.

The roots are in the very center of the plant.  Sea Thrift tend to grow outward into a perfect circle, leaving about a 4-6 inch overhang around the perimeter where the Pill Bugs seem to thrive hidden safely away under the plant. 

They love living here
because of the never-ending smorgasbord of decaying plant material.

My grandsons have actually learned to carefully lift up the outer edges of the plant to find more Pill Bugs than they could ever grow tired of.  And that means no more rocks out of place after they leave to go home.
Want to know more about Pill Bugs?


  1. I love to watch rollie pollie bugs too. I guess I haven't found any "hotels" in my garden, but they do love the compost pile. I don't have grandchildren but my niece is a bug hunter and I love hunting with her.

  2. We have tons of rollie pollies too. They have even been found on what look like healthy leaves. What we now realize is that they will start to eat the leaves when they are sick and dying. I went out and saw a ton of them on the yellowing leaf of a cucumber plant. Beautiful blog and photos. Thanks for sharing. I really like that simple soil recipe that you shared from Mel's square foot gardening. I think I will try that next year for seed starting.

  3. Though I respect their right to be here, and knowing that many bugs are extremely useful in the garden, I'm afraid I'm still not a fan. And that's an ugly little critter! Armadillilium vulgare -- seems very aptly named. :) My grandson likes bugs too, and it thrills me to watch his fascination with Nature.

  4. What a fascinating and informative entry on pill bugs... makes me want to bug hunt with you and your grandkids! Smiles, Angie


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