Dying shrubs and "Roly-Poly" bugs!

Somebody, Anybody???
My shrubs, and even some flowers are dying, and when I started digging them up, I noticed ants and Roly-Poly bugs are all over in the soil! Are these bugs eating my shrubs and flower systems? How do I get rid of the problem???
  5 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 11, 2013
    I've heard of roly-poly bugs eating vegetable seedlings, but I don't think either they, or the ants, are the cause of your shrubs' decline.You have to have moist conditions for roly-poly bugs, perhaps your ground is too wet and the plants' roots are rotting.

  • Patti Patti on Jun 12, 2013
    Well, Doug, I can't rule that thought out, completely, but here in Ks, we've been very dry the past couple of years, but finally received some long prayed for Spring Rain, this year. I do have mulch around the plants and shrubs to try to hold some moisture in the ground. Everything was greening up and looking very healthy for a change! It was the Columbine that I first noticed. The leaves were spotted and had little holes in them. Then, I started noticing some of the shrubs appearing to be drying out and losing foliage. When I went to rake the dirt around them to prepare for laying out fresh mulch, I noticed the bugs. Then, I started seeing where ants were building mounds, and looked like they were throwing out bits of clay dirt! But they are all, roly-polys and ants, digging down deep into the roots of the plants! When I began to rake the dirt, the plants started falling apart, roots pulling out of the ground very easily. The ground was still moist, but not really what I would call wet. It's been about 3 weeks since we've gotten any rain at our place, And, the hot Ks winds are already blowing and drying the ground out, once again! But, thank you for the advice!!! I'll certainly watch that I don't begin to water until the ground is dry under the mulch!

  • Patti Patti on Jun 12, 2013
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas. These roly-polies, pill bugs, are definitely an infestation!! All over the driveway, the sidewalks, the yard, Everywhere!!!! Any ideas on how to get rid of them???

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 12, 2013
    Patti, you also want to make sure that your mulch is not actually touching the plants. It should be a couple of inches away from the base. Pillbugs have to have moist conditions, so if you can take care of that, it should greatly minimize the problem. You'll find some interesting reading on the subject from the University of Idaho here: http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edComm/pdf/CIS/CIS1169.pdf

  • Patti Patti on Jun 12, 2013
    Oh, Thank you for the article referenced!! I did make the mistake of spreading the mulch right up to the base of my plants, shrubs, and trees, that is, until I read an article on the subject early this Spring! I really do appreciate your advice on this, and I really enjoy reading your posts to questions by other followers! I'm learning, slowly, but surely!!!