How To Get Rid Of Millipedes and Keep Them Away

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Anything with more than 100 legs is sure to creep out most people. Not to mention if you see them crawling around your yard or inside your home. 

While millipedes aren’t dangerous, having them inside your home or around your yard is less than ideal. 

In this post, you will learn everything you need to know about dealing with millipedes, including how to get rid of them and prevent them. 

Let’s dive in. 

What Do Millipedes Look Like?

millipede

Millipedes look like long worms with lots of legs. They tend to be brown or black in color.

Their heads are round which makes them look like worms. They also have to semi-short antenna and segmented bodies. Each segment has two pairs of legs.

They are typically between 1 and 2 inches long, but some species can grow to be larger.

Millipedes vs. Centipedes

Millipedes and centipedes are often confused because they are both arthropods with many legs. 

They can be difficult to differentiate if you don’t know what you’re looking for. 

Here are some key differences between millipedes and centipedes.

  • Segments: Millipedes have two pairs of legs per segment, and centipedes have one pair of legs per segment.
  • Leg Position: Millipede’s legs are positioned directly under their body, while centipedes have their legs on the side of their body. 
  • Defense Mechanism: Millipedes coil up and release a smelly secretion when they feel threatened, while centipedes will try to bite or run away quickly.
  • Bites: Millipedes don’t bite, while centipedes can bite and are venomous to most animals but harmless to humans.  

How Many Legs Do Millipedes Have?

Most millipedes have 300 legs.

This typically means that they have two pairs of legs on each body segment.

There are a few species of millipedes that have 750 legs and grow slightly larger than other species of millipedes.

Where do Millipedes Live?

Millipedes are found in every U.S state. They are adaptable creatures that can live in different environments.

Regardless of where they live, they tend to hide and seek out the same environmental factors.

Regardless of where you live, it’s possible to have a millipede in your yard.

What Attracts Millipedes?

Millipedes, like most other insects, are typically looking for food, shelter, or water. 

When looking for a shelter, millipedes prefer:

  • Dark and secure locations 
  • A dam or moist environment 
  • Decaying organic material 

Some examples of things that will attract millipedes include 

  • Piles of leaves
  • Large stones
  • Flooded or moist yards 
  • Mulch 
  • Gardens 

What Do Millipede Eat?

Millipedes are omnivores that are scavengers. They tend to survive on decaying organic matter such as decaying wood, leaves, fruit, or other plant material.

If there is a lack of decaying material such as deserts, they will resort to eating live plants.

They have also been known to search out and eat smaller insects, particularly earthworms and snails, which are easy to prey on.

Are Millipedes Poisonous?

No millipedes are not poisonous or venomous. Millipedes, unlike their friend the centipede, don’t bite.

Millipedes do excrete liquids when they feel threatened.

These fluids can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals.

Some species of millipedes secret fluids that contain hydrochloric acid, which can cause permanent skin discoloration.

Why Do I have Millipedes Inside My House?

Millipedes don’t typically come indoors, but certain situations might cause them to come inside.

Excess rain or flooding of their habitat can cause millipede to seek shelter indoors. Likewise, if the temperature gets too hot outdoors, they will seek shelter indoors, searching for a cool place with moisture.

Millipedes can sometimes make their way into your home if there is an easy access point.

Cracks and crevices near your foundation can make it easy for millipedes to enter your home and make a shelter.

Millipedes are more likely to try to enter your home if the entry leads to a room that is humid and dark. This will attract the millipedes into your home.

Where Do Millipedes Hide Indoors?

Just like outdoors, millipedes will seek out the same conditions indoors. They will live inside rooms that are dark, moist, and undisturbed. 

Common places you will find millipedes inside your home include:

  • Basement
  • Kitchen 
  • Bathroom
  • Boiler room
  • Laundry room
  • Crawlspace 
  • Garage 

These are common rooms inside the house where you will likely find millipedes hiding. 

Where Do Millipedes Hide Outdoors?

Outdoors millipedes will seek out dark and covered places to hide. 

They also tend to prefer hiding in moist areas or near areas that provide consistent moisture, such as streams, shores, or lakes. 

They may also live near an area that experiences frequent watering or flooding. 

Here are some common places you will find millipedes hiding 

  • Under potted plants 
  • Under stones
  • Within mulch 
  • Under piles of leaves 
  • Under loose soil 

How To Prevent Millipedes Indoors?

1. Seal Cracks and Crevices

Millipedes are small and thin. This means that they can enter your home through small cracks and crevices.

To prevent millipedes from entering your home, you want to seal any cracks and crevices you might have around your home.

  • Basements
  • Garages
  • Kitchens
  • Restrooms
  • Storage Sheds

The easiest way to seal all entry points is using caulk.

There are some key areas you want to focus on when inspecting your home for cracks and crevices

  • Door sills
  • Window sills
  • Around the foundation
  • Pipe entry points
  • Window frame
  • Door frame

2. Weatherstrip Your Home

It’s also important that you weatherstrip your home to prevent millipedes from entering your home through small gaps.

One of the most common ways that they enter homes is under doors. Without proper weather sealing or a door sweep, they can enter quickly through any door or window

3. Use Dehumidifiers To Keep Humidity Low

Millipedes like to live in areas that are high in humidity. One way to prevent millipedes from coming back is to make the environment as unappealing as possible.

You can do this by reducing the humidity level inside your home or key rooms that are high in humidity.

To do this, I recommend using a dehumidifier and setting it to 60% or lower.

You can place humidifiers in key rooms that are high humidity, such as:

  • basements 
  • kitchens 
  • boiler rooms 
  • restrooms 

How To Prevent Millipedes Outdoors?

1. Remove Mulch

Mulch is a perfect environment for millipedes. It provides them with shelter and moisture.

As an alternative to mulch, you can use stones or pebbles on the surface of your yard.

This will make it hard for millipedes to hide and reduce the amount of moisture trapped on the surface.

2. Keep Your Yard Well Maintained

One of the best ways to prevent millipedes from infesting your yard is to keep your yard well maintained. 

Keeping your yard well maintained will reduce the number of hiding spots that are available for millipedes. 

It will also reduce moisture buildup in your yard. 

When cleaning your yard, you want to make sure that you

  • Remove all piles of leaves 
  • Discard fallen branches and logs 
  • Keep grass and bushes trimmed 
  • Store firewood properly – away from your home, off the ground, and in a sealed storage area 
  • Remove all vegetation away from the foundation of your home
  • Remove unnecessary stones and furniture

3. Eliminate Moisture Issues

One of the best ways to prevent millipedes from infesting your yard is to keep your yard well maintained. 

Keeping your yard well maintained will reduce the number of hiding spots that are available for millipedes. 

It will also reduce moisture buildup in your yard. 

When cleaning your yard, you want to make sure that you

  • Remove all piles of leaves 
  • Discard fallen branches and logs 
  • Keep grass and bushes trimmed 
  • Store firewood properly – away from your home, off the ground, and in a sealed storage area 
  • Remove all vegetation away from the foundation of your home
  • Remove unnecessary stones and furniture

How To Get Rid of Millipedes?

1. Use a Vacuum

Vacuuming is one of the best ways to get rid of millipedes both indoors and outdoors.

Using a wet-dry vacuum is the best option. They are powerful, and they can lift millipedes with ease.

They are also great because you can add a liquid insecticide at the base of the vacuum.

This will allow you to make sure that you kill any millipedes that you catch.

As an alternative, you can also opt for the humane option and use the vacuum to catch and release the millipedes back into your yard or somewhere farther where they can’t enter your home.

2. Use Insecticides

Insecticides are a great way to get rid of millipedes around your home. You can use granules or liquid insecticides around your home to get rid of them.

I recommend both. Use liquid insecticide to spray the surface of your home and prevent millipedes around your foundation, patio, and deck.

You can also use liquid insecticide and apply it to other potential entry points around your home, such as windows and doorways.

This will add an extra layer of protection to your home against other pests as well.

Granules are highly effective because they drench into the ground. You can apply these to your yard, then apply a layer of water or turn on your sprinklers to activate them.

You must remove all stones, logs, or potted plants from your yard before applying and activating granules. This will ensure that you apply insecticides to key millipede hiding spots.

3. Use Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a great way to get rid of millipedes using an all-natural option that is safe for gardens and pets.

To keep your garden safe, you can apply a barrier to the base of your plants, trees, or around your entire garden.

Any millipedes that attempt to enter your garden will pass through the DE.

The DE will leave the millipede with microscopic cuts that will cause it to dehydrate and die.

DE becomes ineffective if it’s wet. It’s important that you reapply DE if it becomes wet. This will ensure that it remains effective when the millipedes walk over it.

You can also apply DE as a slurry. Combine DE with water and use a pressurized sprayer to apply it to your yard.

This will give your plants a layer of protection against millipedes.

Similar to DE in dust, a DE slurry is only effective when it’s dry. Reapply DE if it gets wet to ensure that it remains effective.

4. Introduce Natural Predators

If you want to avoid using chemicals around your home, you can introduce natural predators to your yard. 

Millipedes have several natural predators that you can easily introduce into your yard without causing much damage to your home. 

Below are some natural predators you can introduce to help you get rid of millipedes

  • Chickens 
  • Frogs
  • Toads 
  • Shrews 
  • Cats 

All of these animals can help you find and eliminate millipedes from your home.

If you already have chickens, you can let them roam around your yard to help eliminate millipedes.

Since they have insatiable appetites, they typically have no issue eating millipedes. 

I highly recommend introducing screws to your yard.

These mammals have huge appetites and don’t cause any damage to gardens or plants.

While they do create tunnels, they don’t cause serious damage to your yard. 

5. Eliminate Potential Hiding Spots

One way to keep millipedes away from your home is to make it hard for them to find somewhere to live. 

The fewer hiding spots there are the less likely they will live near your home. 

First, millipedes hide in dark and damp locations. Most of these locations are also secure and protected. 

You can eliminate hidings spots by keeping your yard well maintained. 

  • Pick up leaves 
  • Remove mulch 
  • Keep bushes and trees well-trimmed
  • Cut grass regularly 
  • Remove unneeded furniture or other items from your yard 
  • Store firewood off the ground and away from your home

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