Chanchito de Tierra: [Characteristics, Detection, Effects and Treatment]

What is the land pig?

One of the most curious tenants of the gardens are the famous ground pigs or oniscids , with the scientific name Armadillidium vulgare , very unique crustaceans that grow directly, that is, they never live the larval stage.

This unique condition is due to the fact that these crustaceans, not insects, always live on the ground, so they need special humidity conditions to reproduce. But the intermediate life they reach is short, it barely lasts a month.

They are also known as ball bugs, moisture bugs, pellet bugs, and scale bugs. Eating behavior is nocturnal. That is why they wait in dark and humid places, until they come out to eat detritus and vegetables of all kinds, alive and dead.

Its extract is very useful in the food industry, as well as the carminic acid they have. Well, these are used as organic colorants authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are also part of the list of additives of the European Economic Community or European Union.

Its disadvantage is the high price, it costs more than artificial preservatives, although it adds a very natural red color to food, preserving jams, canned vegetables, ice cream, meat and dairy products such as yogurt and cheeses, alcoholic beverages and not very well. alcoholic.

How can we identify it?

They are characterized by:

  1. They have a rigid, calcareous exoskeleton that is segmented into 7 parts .
  2. In the immature state they can molt between 4 to 5 times.
  3. The body has 3 large divisions called Cephalon, Pereion and Pleon. The first is attached to the thorax and forms the head and gives space to the eyes of the crustacean. The second is the space segmented into 7 parts where the pairs of legs are distributed, 7 in total and appendages at the abdominal end called uropods. And the third or Pleon, forms segments of the lower part called pleonites, 6 in total, although the last link is called telson.
  4. They are brown in color, but there are also specimens that range from slate gray to pale yellow. 
  5. A pair of protruding antennas.
  6. Females have the special characteristic that they keep their eggs, about 100 in total, fertilized inside their body, where they have a special bag that keeps them until they reach adulthood.
  7. In the male, the protrusions of the first two parts of the abdomen are the apparatus used to copulate.
  8. When they feel under threat of death, they roll into a ball, thanks to a flexible accordion-like body. 
  9. They have a very powerful chewing mouth apparatus, capable of crushing solids, which allows them to feed on the exoskeletons of dead insects, not just stems and leaves. 
  10. They have gills, instead of lungs. Therefore, they need to live in fairly humid environments.
  11. They live on the ground, they do not attack the foliage, unless they become a pest due to a high population.
  12. Although they are special to rid us of plant debris, they also like to eat the stems filled with water and living plant matter, so they can be a serious threat to ornamental plants , whatever they are.
  13. Eating behavior is nocturnal. That is why they wait in dark and humid places, until they come out to eat detritus and vegetables of all kinds, alive and dead.

What plants does the ground pig affect?

They love to live under ornamental plants, in the darkest and most humid places they can get between medium and tall plants, under leaves, stones or rocks, decaying fallen logs. 

They eagerly await the fall of leaves and take advantage of succulent stems, full of water, so they can become a serious problem for our plants if they reach the status of ornamental pest

They also attack the roots, so they can cause great damage in plantations and affect shoots and young plant species.

The fact that they have an active presence in our garden, inevitably indicates that other much more harmful animals are acting at ease, because to do it justice, the ground pig likes it a lot, preferring first of all to eat vegetable waste, as well as decomposed animals .

That is why they live inside rotten wood, caves and damp crevices, since they always need a wet surface to be able to breathe through their gills and carry out gas exchange with support on the ventral plates of their anatomy.

How to fight the land pig?

There are several expeditious ways to exercise effective control over the proliferation of these animals.

In case they acquire an aggressive behavior, that they become a plague that destroys the plants, we will have to use a powder insecticide that can be spread on the ground and that will penetrate with the help of irrigation water.

Another way to pour it is by previously dissolving it in the irrigation water, so that the fumigation process has a greater scope.

What are the best products to eliminate the ground pig?

Very effective commercial products are available on the market. The following will go a long way in controlling the pest in the garden. 

Diazinon insecticide

It is an insecticide powder easily annihilates insects mine the soil, destroying varieties not only how chanchitos land, but others feared action as cutters, worms wires, larvae, centipedes, ants , larvae, among others.

This product has a powerful residual effect that lasts even on highly absorbent surfaces.

Terrasan fungicide

It is an ideal fungus to avoid all types of fungal attacks that rot the roots of plants. 

It also has a powerful residual effect that also eliminates the most annoying insects in the garden and orchards such as beetles and worms of all kinds, centipedes, mealybugs, among others.

It mixes the fungicidal power with the recipe of broad spectrum insecticides, so it can be used in the disinfection of soils, sowing in meadows and fields, planting species in pots, as well as transplanting taking measures of 

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