Millipedes are large anthropods characterized by long dark bodies and hundreds of tiny, legs. They like to stay outdoors in gardens and grasses and only migrate to ground-level apartments and homes during the winter season.
When millipedes invade a home, it can be difficult to get rid of them without the proper tools or information.
In this post, we tell you how to get rid of millipedes from your house if you’re dealing with your first millipede infestation.
How to Identify Millipedes
Most people know how a millipede looks, but they can’t often tell the difference between them and their look like the centipede.
Here are a few key features that will let you identify millipedes.
All species of millipedes are either black, brown, and shiny reddish. They can be anywhere from 2 inches to 11 inches long in tropical areas. Local millipedes indigenous to the United States and Canada reach usually reach up to 3 inches.
They have a hard shell that resembles a cord, broken up into multiple segments. Each segment has two pairs of feet. Millipedes move slowly, in a wave-like format, with each pair of feet flowing into the next.
A fully grown millipede can have up to 100 legs for traveling. They also have short seven-segment antennas they rely on for scanning their environment. Millipedes fold into a tight spiral shape when they feel threatened.
Key differences between millipedes and Centipedes
Centipedes have a flatter and rounder body than the millipede. They also feature only one pair of legs per segment, while millipedes may have more than one. Centipedes also move much faster than millipedes and have fangs for poisoning their prey.
(This is millipedes)
(This is centipedes)
How do you control a Millipede Infestation?
Millipedes are a non-violent pest.
They’re not harmful like most rodents or insects and are fairly easy to deal with provided you know what you’re doing quite insects.
However different strategies are recommended depending on the number of millipedes you have crawling around your home.
What Kills Millipedes Instantly?
A heavy stomp.
Millipedes rarely invade in large swarms, and in most cases, you’ll only have a dozen or so crawlers to deal with. Killing the millipedes, one by one, as you find them is a viable strategy in most cases.
Sweep the Millipede or vacuum them up
You can also sweep the millipedes instead of stomping them.
Sweeping or vacuuming is one of the most effective methods of pest control, especially if you want zero contact with the millipedes. After sweeping, toss the captured millipede in a trash bag, tie the bag, and toss it into a covered garbage can outside your home. This way, they won’t get back into your home if they somehow manage to climb out the garbage can.
Spray an insecticide for Millipedes and anthropods
Most indoor pest insect sprays or pesticides will deal with millipedes, but if you want to be sure, opt for products made specifically for millipedes.
Look for products containing bendiocarb, propoxur, or cyfluthrin. If you want to deal with a millipede infestation without physically touching them, this method is also particularly effective.
Before you make your purchase though, make sure the millipede control spray is safe for children and pets.
Lay a trap and bait them to capture them
The classic pest trap is also another viable and cheap millipede control strategy. Head down to the pest control store and pick out a simple millipede trap. It consists of a simple tube, sloped sides, and a single LED light at the center to attract the millipede.
Alternatively, you can also make a millipede trap.
All you have to do is connect to plastic soda bottles, insert a small plastic tube and a small piece of fruits that serve as bait for the millipede. When the millipede climbs in to get the fruit, it falls into the bottle and is unable to climb out afterward. You can then choose to either release the trapped millipede outside.
Get an air dehumidifier
Millipedes rely heavily on moisture to survive.
Unlike most other bugs, they cannot survive more than two whole days without any water. They will shrivel out and die if you artificially lower the humidity in your home. This solution is not free to set up like the trap solution, but it presents a long-term pest control solution as long as you don’t mind the lowered humidity.
Remove the Infestation outside
Don’t stop the pest control measure when you’ve managed to get rid of the millipedes indoors, you want to shift your attention outdoors and target them in your yard, garden, etc.
Create a perimeter around to prevent future infestations
After finding, killing, or releasing all the millipedes in your home, you want to keep them away by spraying insecticide around the perimeter of your home. This means targeting entry points like your crawl space, basement, doors and windows, and your yard.
The insecticides work by getting into the millipede’s body system when they cross it, gradually killing them. Wearing a glove when you’re applying the insecticide will help prevent irritation.
You might have to reapply the insecticides more than a few times to make sure it works.
Hunt for them in Mulch leaves, decaying grass, your lawn, and areas with high moisture
Millipedes are attracted to mulch and leaves.
They eat decaying plants and prefer to set up their habitats in areas with plenty of moisture. During the winter months, all these things are in ample supply. So, look for and hunt millipedes you find around your home and target debris, deadwood, rotting leaves piles, compost, etc.
Clear up these potential meals or habitat spots after you’ve cleared the millipedes camping out there. Keep water out of your drain pipes and gutters, and clear out your garden frequently to prevent build-up.
Alternatively, you could use an outdoor insecticide and mix it with the surrounding soil and mulch around your home. It’s a faster way to hunt for them.
For a more natural solution, you could mix dry wood ash into the soil instead of insecticide. It will dry out the millipedes and their eggs as well.
Mix in boric acid with the soil
Boric acid is a common and effective insecticide for insects and bugs. Mix some in your garden and tight cracks and crevices that you expect to find millipedes.
Boric acid is effective on most species of millipedes and works by causing microscopic cuts and gashes on the bug’s body poisoning them and dehydrating their bodies over time.
Hire a professional Millipede control
If you have difficulty implementing any of the pest control strategies or find it hard to get rid of millipedes stalking your home, we recommend calling a professional.
They’re more experienced and know how to fish in crack and crevices, basements, and other locations you don’t have the time or skill to comb through. They’ll also avoid the common pitfalls first-time exterminators fall into.
Why do I have Millipedes in my house?
Millipedes are attracted to moisture and damp areas.
While they prefer damp soil and grassy areas, they will migrate indoors when the temperature rises and their outdoor habitat becomes too hot or dry to live in. Once they’re past your door, they will try hiding in basements, under piles of boxes, debris, wood, crevices, and cracks.
Before they gain entry into your home, they’ll sometimes gather on the patio before they seek out entryways into your home. They will search for crawl spaces vents, cracks and crevices, basement doors, weather stripping, and windows, garage doors, and just about any crevice they can crawl through. The first step to avoiding a full-blown invasion is to ensure that all your potential openings are plugged or taken care of.
How to Prevent a Millipede infestation
The key to preventing a future Millipede infestation is to ensure that your house and its environment are not conducive to them. Here are a few quick tips that should work.
Keep your grass low and clear out deadwood, leaves, and clutter
Long grasses, mulch, dead grass, and deadwood are the prime feeding ground and habitats for millipedes. By keeping your grasses short and moving compost, mulch, leaves, and wood far from your home, you can reduce the likelihood of millipedes invading your home in the future.
Divert water away from your home?
This is another easy but effective trick.
Keeping your home as warm or dry as possible can make it less hospitable for pests, especially if you have some kind of dehumidifier set up inside your home. You should consider extending your gutter and diverting water away from the main house if you’ve had multiple encounters with millipedes.
Seal up cracks around your home’s foundation around your home
Search for cracks and crevices around the foundation of your home and patch them up if you want to get rid of millipedes long-term. Use weather stripping and caulk to seal cracks you find. This is a great choice because it safeguards you against millipedes and other pests like spiders, etc.
Millipedes can sometimes access your house through vents, so you want to add a film on each vent leading into your home. It is another small but effective control measure.
Have animals help you with perimeter control
If you’re an animal lover, then raising a pet like a chicken to help you pick out bug invaders is a great idea. It can help you pick out any bug or insect that they find outdoors and keep them away from your door. You could raise multiple chickens and have them graze on your lawn, yard, and other areas around your home.
Clearing out a millipede infestation doesn’t have to be serious or difficult, not if you know what you’re doing.
Remember to check your yard, lawn, foundation, and other hiding spots indoors and outdoors. Millipedes are not violent, meaning they will not bite you or your pets.
If you have difficulty dealing with a persistent invasion, consider hiring professional pests and insects exterminator to help you.