Millipedes are certainly unnerving, especially when you come across one inside your home in the dead of night. Still, these interesting and beneficial arthropods do more good than harm, and are relatively easy to get rid of once you know how to manage and prevent them.
So, if you’re dealing with millipedes or you just want to learn about some of the best millipede control methods available to you, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s article, we are going to learn more about these interesting critters and talk about the best millipedes control including products and prevention to keep them out of your home.
What Is A Millipede?
Millipedes are arthropods related to centipedes.
Millipedes are not insects but are instead arthropods closely related to centipedes. Despite their name, millipedes do not have 1,000 legs. Instead, most millipedes have between 34 and 400 jointed legs, with two legs on each section of their elongated bodies.
There are an estimated 1,400 species of millipedes in the United States, with most preferring to live in outdoor habitats near plant decay, debris, and rotting wood.
While Millipedes are frightful, it is important to know that they do not harm people or pets and are actually quite beneficial to the environment. In fact, they dine almost exclusively on decaying plant and wood matter, working as natural decomposers in yards and gardens.
However, millipedes do tend to congregate and move in large numbers, which can be problematic if they get into homes.
During fall, millipedes have been found to migrate, often heading towards homes to congregate on porches, in crawl spaces, and beneath decks or patios. It is during this time that millipedes find their way indoors, often through vulnerabilities in the structure like cracks and crevices, ripped screens, or even gaps in doorways.
How To Identify A Millipede Problem
Often, the only sign of a millipede problem is seeing a millipede inside your home.
Though they are related to centipedes, millipedes look quite different and are very easy to identify.
They often grow to be between 2.5 and 4 centimeters in length and are generally brown in color, though some can be a lighter tan or beige while others appear black. They have long, worm-like bodies that are segmented, with each segment containing two jointed legs.
Most people come across millipedes outside while gardening. They often hide beneath rocks or in mulch, but may also burrow into leaf litter and dead plants.
However, if their environment is flooded after a heavy rain or once the weather begins to cool, millipedes have been known to migrate and move indoors. Once inside, they prefer to hide beneath furniture, in boxes, beneath clutter, in crawl spaces, beneath appliances, and in cracks and crevices along walls.
Since millipedes move in numbers, it’s not uncommon for a home to become infested with these creepy critters, and their nocturnal nature makes them difficult to come across unless by surprise. Furthermore, identifying a millipede infestation can be tough as millipedes don’t leave many signs of their presence.
Unlike many other pests like rodents, bed bugs, spiders, and roaches, millipedes don’t leave behind chew marks, feces, shells, or eggs. In fact, you often won’t know it’s time to look for millipede control until you come across one by surprise inside your home.
What Has Attracted Millipedes To Your Property?
Millipedes are attracted to moisture, decaying wood, and leaf litter.
When looking for the best millipedes control, try and keep in mind that these arthropods typically prefer to live outdoors, where food and breeding grounds are readily available.
Since millipedes generally dine on decaying plant matter like leaf litter and rotting wood, you’ll rarely find them residing in your home for long. Plus, they prefer to reproduce outside, with female millipedes laying her eggs (or sometimes even live millipede babies) in moist soil.
If you do have millipedes in your home, chances are it is either fall and they are migrating or there has been a recent storm and their habitat was flooded.
Millipedes most often find their way into your home through entry points which include:
- Crawl Space Vents
- Basement Doors
- Basement Windows
- Ill-Fitted Screens
- Gaps In Doors
- Garage Doors
- Ripped Screens
There are also some other landscaping factors that can make finding a millipede inside and needing the best millipedes control methods more common, including:
Millipedes are attracted to moisture and will congregate in areas that are rich in water including beneath sinks, in bathtubs, etc. You may find more millipedes in your home if you have recently suffered from water damage or a water leak.
Debris or Clutter In Your Home
Once inside your home, the nocturnal and reclusive millipede will look for good hiding spaces. They often prefer to hide in cardboard boxes or beneath furniture or appliances, which is one of the reasons they love basements and crawl spaces so much.
One of the best forms of millipede control is to remove clutter and debris from inside your home to reduce potential hiding spaces.
Piles Of Wood In The Yard
Since millipedes dine on decaying wood, any type of wood debris can be attractive to them. Firewood, dead trees, fallen branches, and decaying garden sheds can all be a source of food for hungry millipedes, thus increasing your chances of encountering millipedes inside your house.
Millipedes love leaf litter and other plant matter. This is another reason they are so commonly found in the fall. You can reduce your chances of coming across millipedes and needing to find the best millipedes control by simply raking and removing the accumulation of dead leaves as the seasons change.
Mulch can be great for keeping some pests away, but it may also attract other insects like earwigs, centipedes and millipedes. If you want to avoid having millipedes in your home, don’t apply mulch along your home’s perimeter. Instead, use straw or hay, as these items do not retain moisture and don’t provide a food source to these pests.
The below video gives more detail about millipedes and how they find their way into residential homes.
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Millipedes Control – Best Treatment Methods
Most millipede control methods do not require insecticides.
When looking for the best millipede control, keep in mind that most methods do not require the use of harsh chemical pesticides or insecticides. In fact, many natural remedies like sprays, ultrasonic sound repellers, and even repellents work best.
That said, there are other methods and remedies you can use as a form of millipedes control depending on the severity of your infestation. These methods include:
- Natural Repellents
- Home Remedies
With that in mind, let’s move on to the best millipede control using natural repellents and methods.
Best Millipedes Control Using Natural Repellents
Most Millipedes prefer to live outdoors and can be taken care of using natural methods and remedies.
When it comes to the best millipedes control, even pest control professionals tend to agree that chemicals and poisons are not always necessary. In fact, millipedes are very sensitive and can easily be remedied by using aromas, sprays, and even products that contain plant-based ingredients.
We have listed some of our favorite all natural millipedes control products below for you to consider.
Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer
Diatomaceous Earth is a popular form of natural pest control you can use both inside and outside of your home for millipedes control. It is made by fossilized algae and works by penetrating the millipede’s exoskeleton, which dehydrates and kills it.
In order to work most effectively, Diatomaceous Earth must be dry. Millipedes must also crawl through the powder as it only works on contact.
Luckily, Diatomaceous Earth is harmless to people and pets and can be used directly on plants and in gardens as often as needed.
Boric Acid Insecticide Dust
Boric acid is another form of dust pest control that works by killing millipedes on contact. While it too is generally safe for people and pets, it can be irritating to the skin and eyes in large doses.
That said, boric acid is a safe way to execute millipedes control inside and outside of your home. Like Diatomaceous Earth, millipedes must crawl through the boric acid and then ingest it. Once inside the stomach, the boric acid expands and kills the pest.
Boric acid also works well for pests like ants and roaches.
Wondercide Outdoor Spray
Wondercide is an all natural, plant-based perimeter spray that uses essential oils as the active ingredient to repel pests like millipedes. This perimeter spray is designed to protect the outside of your home and keep your garden and home pest free.
It uses peppermint oil, cedar oil, rosemary oil or lemongrass oil to repel and prevent pests like mosquitoes, flies, roaches, ants, millipedes and centipedes.
Terro Sticky Insect Traps
Sticky traps are a great way to monitor and keep track of millipedes control, especially if you live in an area or region where millipedes are prevalent.
If you’ve dealt with millipedes in the past, having some sticky traps like the ones above by Terro laying around in areas where millipedes generally hide can give you some peace of mind.
These traps can also help capture other pests like spiders, roaches, ants, and even bed bugs.
Trapper Insect Trap
This is another sticky trap that is ideal for millipedes control. It allows you to monitor potential invasions and keep an eye on other pest problems as well. It too works to capture pests like bed bugs, roaches, ants and spiders.
The glue is non-toxic and safe for people and pets, and the folding design keeps curious kiddos and pets from getting stuck in the sticky tape.
MDX Concepts Organic Home Pest Control Spray
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MDX Concepts is an organic home spray that uses natural, plant-based ingredients like essential oils to repel pests. It is great for millipedes control because it utilizes peppermint oil, which naturally repels these pests without harming people or pets.
The above spray also works to repel spiders, roaches, flies, ants and centipedes. That said, this is best used as a spot treatment spray and may not be as long-lasting as some of the other sprays or repellent on this list when it comes to millipedes control.
Rostermank Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
Ultrasonic pest repellers are a popular and effective form of millipedes control, especially when used in conjunction with other control methods and remedies. These plug-in repellers work by emitting ultrasonic sounds and vibrations that irritate pests like millipedes without annoying people or pets.
Best Millipedes Control Using Insecticides
Since millipedes are known to move in numbers, they can become problematic in homes which may require more intensive treatments.
Most millipedes control efforts can be successfully utilized using natural methods, but this isn’t always the case. Some instances and large millipede infestations may require more intensive treatments that include chemicals and insecticides.
Before using an insecticide as your millipedes control method, we suggest reading the directions carefully and using your chosen product only as directed. Remember, insecticides and pesticides often contain harsh toxins that can be dangerous for people, pets and the environment if not used properly.
We have listed some of the most highly recommended insecticides for millipedes control for you to consider below.
Ortho Home Defense Indoor and Perimeter Spray
Ortho Home Defense Spray provides homeowners with an insecticide spray that works for both inside and outside of the home. The spray includes a wand for easy application and is ideal for reaching those tight hiding spots where millipedes tend to lurk.
This spray also works for centipedes, roaches, ants and spiders, and can provide up to a year’s worth of protection when applied correctly.
The active ingredient in this insecticide is Bifinthrin, which is a toxic chemical that can be dangerous to people, pets and the environment. With that in mind, be sure to use this insecticide only as directed and keep it out of reach of children.
Raid House And Garden
Raid offers another form of millipedes control you can use both inside and outside of your home. The above spray is designed to be used around the perimeter of your home and even on garden plants to repel insects like millipedes, earwigs, and aphids.
The active ingredient for this insecticide is Permethrin, which is a common insecticidal chemical that is effective on pests. That said, this chemical can be toxic to people and pets, so use it only as directed.
Best Millipedes Control Using Home Remedies
Millipedes thrive in moisture-rich environments so using drying matter like wood ash or a dehumidifier can deter them.
Finding the right millipedes control for you doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, there are plenty of household ingredients you can use to help prevent and get rid of millipedes in your home and even on your property.
Let’s take a look at some of the best do it yourself pest control remedies for millipedes control below.
We love essential oils for pest control and millipedes control, but not all essential oils work for all pests. For millipedes, the best essential oils include:
- Tea Tree Oil
- Peppermint Oil
You can make your own essential oil spray by adding 10 to 20 drops of the above oil of your choice to two cups of water in a spray bottle and spraying it around entry points, in crawl spaces, beneath furniture and appliances, and in other areas you wish to keep millipedes at bay.
You may also soak cotton balls in the above essential oil of your choice and place them around your home to prevent and repel millipedes as well. Just make sure to replace these cotton balls every two days.
If you have a wood burning fireplace or stove, then you likely already have some wood ash on hand. To keep millipedes out of your garden or to create a protective barrier around your home, spread some wood ash around.
Wood ash is dry and reduces moisture, which will deter millipedes and centipedes.
Cayenne pepper can cause irritation to millipedes on contact, so you can use it in the same way you would use wood ash to create a protective barrier around your home. You can also spread cayenne pepper near entry or exit points to keep millipedes out.
However, keep in mind that cayenne pepper can also cause irritation to people and pets, especially if it is inhaled or if it gets into the nose or eyes, so use this method with caution.
Use A Dehumidifier
Since millipedes are attracted to moisture rich environments, you can make your home less hospitable to them by reducing the humidity inside your home. Dehumidifiers are a great way to repel not only millipedes, but also earwigs and centipedes.
Many pests detest the strong scent of mothballs and millipedes are no exception. To use mothballs as a form of millipedes control, simply place them at potential entry points and in areas where millipedes may like to hide.
However, keep in mind that mothballs contain a toxic chemical called naphthalene, which can be dangerous for children and pets.
Use A Vacuum
If you do happen to come across a millipede in your home, one of the easiest forms of millipedes control is to use a vacuum cleaner. This allows you to quickly capture and dispose of the millipedes you see and then move on to treatment and prevention.
Are Millipedes Dangerous To People or Pets?
Millipedes are harmless to people and pets and are instead highly beneficial decomposers.
Although millipedes are frightful, especially if you come across them unexpectedly, they are actually highly beneficial decomposers. They are also completely harmless to people and pets as they do not bite or carry any diseases.
However, some species of millipedes can secrete a strong smelling liquid that can cause irritation to the skin and eyes of people and pets.
For this reason, it’s best not to physically handle millipedes and to use a form of millipedes control to get rid of them instead.
Best Millipedes Control And Prevention Tips
Since millipedes dine primarily on leaf litter and decaying wood, removing this debris from your yard can help prevent them.
Millipedes are very common throughout the United States, and while you may not mind them living in your garden, it’s simple to prevent them from coming into your home once you understand what attracts them.
Let’s go over a few tips and tricks you can use as a form of millipedes control and prevention for the future.
Remove Clutter and Debris Inside Your Home
Millipedes are attracted to clutter and debris inside your home because it provides them with places to hide. Lots of clutter and debris may also contain decaying organic matter like wood, which millipedes can feed on.
You can help reduce millipedes in your home and even reduce your chances of a scary and surprising encounter with one by removing clutter and debris and keeping your home organized and tidy.
Remove Wood Piles and Leaf Litter Outside Your Home
To keep these pests out of your yard and away from your home, continuously rake dead leaves and clean up any unnecessary wood debris. We also suggest you keep firewood piles at least six feet from your home.
Avoid Using Mulch Along Your Home’s Perimeter
As we mentioned above, millipedes are highly attracted to mulch. A great and natural form of millipedes control would be to instead use straw or hay in place of mulch. Doing this can also help repel other insects like sowbugs, pillbugs, earwigs, and ants.
Caulk and Seal Potential Entry Points
Another form of millipedes control and prevention is to simply keep up on routine home maintenance and repairs. Remember, the most common entry points for millipedes include cracks and crevices along the foundation, ripped screens, gaps in doorways, crawl space vents, and so on.
Caulk and seal any potential entry point around your home to ensure not only millipedes stay out but also many other home invading pests as well.
Use A Year-Round Pest Control Regime
Last, we always suggest that homeowners use a form of pest control year-round. There are many types of pest control products you can use whether you choose home remedies, natural perimeter sprays, insecticides, or even professional pest control experts, so you certainly have options.
Not only will using a routine pest prevention method help keep millipedes under control, it can save you time and money in the future by helping to prevent other problematic pests from entering your home.
So, what do you think about millipedes? Would you let them hang out in your garden as natural decomposers so long as they stay away from your home?
Let us know your thoughts about millipedes control in the comment section below.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.