How to Get Rid of Wood Bugs Naturally

Sowbugs and pillbugs are woodlice that like to inhabit moist, dark areas with plenty of decomposing plant material. In some cases, your garden, yard, or even your basement can become their home.

Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to get rid of these creatures naturally. In this article, we will find out how to say goodbye to the bugs:

  • Using home remedies
  • Using commercial products (with naturally-occurring ingredients)
  • By eliminating a bug-friendly environment
  • By making a few changes in your house

Get Rid of Wood Bugs Naturally with Home Remedies

Beer trap

Wood bugs are actually beer lovers. And you can use this golden beverage to get rid of the annoying pests.

Simply fill a bowl or a cup with a beer of your choice and then sink the thing into the soil (close to where you have seen the critters). Make sure that the rim is in line with the ground.

When the bugs will start crawling to the beer, they will fall into the cup and drown. You can remove the beer whenever you feel like there are enough bugs floating in the liquid.

Garlic spray

Mix 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic with a quart of water. Place the solution in a spray bottle and apply it over the places where you have seen the bugs.

You can spray the critters directly – the solution will deter the creatures.

Toilet roll trap

This is a simple DIY trap. All you’re going to need is a toilet roll (or any cardboard tube) and sticky tape.

Cut the tube in half lengthwise. Place the duct tape at the open bottom (sticky side up) and use half of the roll as a cover.

Whenever the wood bugs will go out looking for a dark and moist place, they will get stuck to the tape.

Make sure to check the trap relatively often, as moisture decreases the stickiness of duct tape (you can always use professional stick traps for a longer effect).

Potato trap

You can use other vegetables or fruits for this method as well, as the critters are attracted to food and moisture.

Cut the potatoes in half and cut into one of the sides, so it looks like a half-moon. Place the cut side into the soil and leave it there for about a day.

In the morning, you’ll find plenty of bugs under the potato.


Fill a container or a food bag with cornmeal and make holes that are big enough to allow the wood bugs to crawl into the trap.

The creatures will get attracted to the food, but as soon as they ingest the cornmeal, they will die.

Vaseline-paint trap

Another trap that will come in handy, if you have a vegetable garden.

Take a piece of cardboard (it should be at least a 5-inch square). Use waterproof paint to make the square bright yellow.

Wait for the paint to dry and then apply plenty of Vaseline (or petroleum jelly) to both sides of the cardboard. Place the pieces on your vegetable and/or flower beds.

The bright color will attract the insects and Vaseline will trap and suffocate the annoying creatures.

Grounded coffee

Coffee won’t exactly kill wood bugs, but it does a great job at keeping the creatures away. The grounded coffee that you’ve already used to make your morning cup would do.

Just spread a ring around the plants to scare the bugs off.

Neem oil

Mix the oil with water and spray the solution directly onto your plants. The spray won’t harm your green friends; however, the solution is mildly poisonous to pill bugs and other insects.

Get Rid of Wood Bugs Naturally with Commercial Products

Sluggo Plus

This product is an organic method of pest control as it contains Spinosad – a naturally-occurring bacteria that is used to control many pests (slugs, snails, pillbugs, and so on).

The product also has iron phosphates which are pesticide active ingredients.

It is better to apply the remedy in the evening and not right before harvesting (apply the remedy at least 3 days before that).

Essentria IC-3

This one contains a lot of different essential oils that won’t kill the pests but will keep a lot of insects away from your yard.

You can simply spray the solution around the infested area (your house included).

Bonide Bug ; Slug Killer

This is another product that has Spinosad (we have already mentioned it above) and iron phosphates in it. However, this one can cause irritation in humans, so it has to be used with caution.

The product comes in spray and pellet form and can be sprinkled or sprayed around your garden. Bear in mind that the remedy has to be reapplied after watering or rain.

Get Rid of Wood Bugs Naturally by Eliminating a Bug-Friendly Environment

Remove dead plant matter

Wood bugs are attracted to mulch, decomposed vegetables, and other decaying plant matter. If you remove these things from your garden and yard, then the bugs will have no reason to stay there.

Tackle moist areas

Insects need moisture to survive. If you remove the source of moisture, the critters might die in only about 2 days.

Try not to overwater your plants. Get rid of too much mulch as it keeps the conditions moist, and correct any water runoff problems.

Ensure that there is enough air circulation

Wood bugs like places with poor air circulation as they are usually moist and dark.

To let your garden or yard ‘breathe’ freely, try elevating all pots off the ground, encourage the vines to grow up a trellis (instead of crawling on the ground), and trim all the trees and bushes on a regular basis.

Attract natural predators

There are plenty of creatures out there that would be happy to help you with your problem.

Birds, lizards, ants, spiders, and frogs like to snack on wood bugs from time to time, so you can make a few changes in your yard to make it more attractive to these creatures.

Birds, for example, are drawn to bright colors and to native flowers and trees. You can also try installing a few feeders as various birds will prefer different feeders installed at different heights.

When it comes to food, dark oil sunflower and suet are the ‘basics’ that are going to attract a wide range of birds.

By the way, you can choose to add beneficial bugs to your garden. Ladybugs can be bought in a botanica center, for example (let the ladies out right before nighttime).

Strengthen the roots

You might never have pest-related problems if the soil in your yard is healthy and the roots of the plants are strong.

If the wood bugs are able to find enough organic matter in the soil, they will not attack your plants, and you won’t really have a problem with these insects.

Use compost and good bacteria to nourish the soil and make sure that your plants have strong roots – the wood bugs won’t be able to feed on them, in such a case.

How to Get Rid of Wood Bugs Naturally in Your House

Diatomaceous earth

You can use food-grade diatomaceous earth to get rid of the bugs in your house.

Sprinkle DE around the areas where the insects tend to gather. You can also spread it around potted plants.

Diatomaceous earth is fine and sharp. The particles will cut into the body of the critters and cause dehydration.

A bowl of coffee grounds

Fill a bowl with coffee grounds and place it in the area of your house where you have seen the bugs.

Reduce moisture

You might find wood bugs living in your basement as, in a lot of cases, it is the most damp and dark place in the house.

You should find a way to lower the humidity level in this space (and in the rest of your house, just in case).

Check for leaking pipes and fix any leakages, if there is such a need. Actively use exhaust fans, keep the gutters clean, open the windows to improve air circulation, and invest in a dehumidifier, if you have to.

Seal off all entrances

In general, wood bugs are not that small (around ½ of an inch or bigger). So, if you manage to seal all the cracks in your house, in theory, the insects wouldn’t be able to enter.

You can choose caulk to take care of the small cracks.

Pay extra attention to the areas around the windows, any air intake, exhaust grille, where the siding meets the foundation or roof, and around pipe penetrations.


Perhaps, the easiest way to get rid of wood bugs is to go with one of the commercial products.

However, if you want the creatures to stay away from your house and garden, then you would have to make a few permanent changes.

For example, fix all moisture-related issues and improve the air circulation both indoors and outdoors.

Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:

How I STOPPED Pill Bugs Getting In My Home

How to Get Rid of Pill Bugs in Compost

How to Get Rid of Pill Bugs in Your Bathroom

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page

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