Millipedes, also known as “thousand leggers,” are arthropods that often make their way into our homes. Millipedes range from 2.5 to 4 cm long, are brownish in color, are long and slender, and look a lot like worms with legs. They are segmented with 2 pairs of legs per segment. Millipedes are nocturnal and tend to move in large numbers. They are also scavengers, feeding on decaying plant material in and around your home. While they are definitely creepy looking, they don’t bite or cause any damage to your home or food supplies.
Millipedes are often found outdoors in damp places such as mulch, flowerbeds, under leaves, compost, rotting wood, and under stones in your yard. They are also commonly found around foundations. Excess rain, drought, and cooler temperatures can make their outdoor habitats less favorable for them and you will often see millipedes in the house during these conditions. Excess rain will drive them indoors in search of shelter and drought will drive them indoors in search of water. Once in your home, they tend to gravitate toward damp areas such as laundry rooms, basements, and crawlspaces. Millipedes will usually die fairly quickly once they get inside due to the lack of moisture. If you’re wondering how to get rid of millipedes indoors, you can simply remove them with a vacuum cleaner or shop-vac.
How can you prevent a millipede infestation from taking over your home? Here are a few tips to prevent millipedes in the house.
- Seal any cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation, around wiring and around plumbing where millipedes can enter.
- Seal the expansion joints where patios, sunrooms, and sidewalks are next to your foundation and also along the walls of your basement.
- Repair any leaks you find in the home, including leaky faucets, water pipes, and air conditioning units.
- Use a dehumidifier to keep the air dry in your home and use fans in rooms that don’t have good airflow.
- Reduce humidity in your home by enclosing your crawlspace by providing adequate ventilation in your basement.
- Clean out and remove debris from gutters or consider installing gutter guards to prevent clogs. Make sure gutters, downspouts, and splash blocks are properly functioning and diverting water away from foundation walls.
- Keep your yard clean by removing dead plant matter, piles of leaves or mulch, grass clippings, rotting wood, and woodpiles, especially those that are directly against your foundation walls.
- Practice good lawn care by keeping your grass mowed short and de-thatching your lawn.
- Avoid overwatering your lawn and try to water in the morning versus at night so the grass has time to dry out before nightfall. Adjust your sprinkler system to minimize water pooling up on your lawn.
- Take preventative pest-proofing measures in your home by adding thresholds and weatherstripping around doors and windows and caulking or sealing any other openings to keep pests out.
- Call a professional pest control company who can thoroughly inspect your home for potential entry points and help you with a treatment and prevention plan to keep these pests out.