You must have picked up a decaying log at least once in your life. Do you notice the cretins that hide underneath the log, with their opaque dark shells? While you may squirm with disgust at their sight and try putting quite some distance between them and you, they actually help in the development of your garden. These are the ‘Rollie Pollies’- the saviors of your garden.
These creatures go by the scientific name ‘Armadillidium vulgare’, but we refer to them affectionately as Pill bugs or ‘Rollie Pollies’. This is entirely due to their ability to curl up when threatened. Interestingly, these bugs aren’t bugs- they are actually crustaceans. This means they are more of a family towards shrimps and crabs.
Also, these Rollie Pollies are a more evolved species of crustaceans wherein they have completely adapted themselves to a life on land. They don’t have the headache of having to dump their ammonia anywhere, so they don’t urinate. But they eat their own feces, which is quite disgusting.
A tube through their rear end helps them drink, while they breathe through their gills. This makes it important for them to stay in moist environments, as a lack of moisture would make it impossible for them to breathe. This is also why they tend to curl up when their gills get dry- so that they can store up whatever moisture is left.
If your garden is mature, then Rollie Pollies are your best friends. They find their nutrition amidst dead material, which is why they break down decaying plants and animals and push the nutrients back into the ground- making it feasible to help plant more.
The best part about these rollie pollies? They remove the heavy metal ions that contaminate the soil, making it difficult to plant anything there. Their ability to simply consume metals like cadmium, arsenic, and others also makes them impervious to most temperature or geographical conditions- unlike other living animals. This makes them an integral part of clearing up coal spills and other such hazardous events.
By association, their ability to clean up the soil also makes them a savior of groundwater. For, metal and other pollutants can reach the groundwater, making it extremely dangerous for humans if they ever want to drink it. Rollie Pollies, therefore, are life saviors.
If you want these cretins to work in your garden without any hassle- all you have to do is remember this one thing- never stop adding more and more organic stuff to your plants. For, the only way to stop these rollie pollies from eating away at your roots is to make sure they are forever busy.
You will be surprised to know that these ancient-looking bugs can actually reduce the magnitude of climate change that we are facing currently. They can do this by eating away at fungi which would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide sent out into the atmosphere.
So, don’t fret if you find some rollie pollies around your garden!
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons