Millipedes are common occasional pests that are found throughout the United States. While they typically live outdoors under leaves, mulch, compost, rocks, etc, they will come indoors for two reasons: in search of water during droughts or in search of shelter after heavy rains. They are often found infesting basements, garages, and crawlspaces. If you spot millipedes in your house, it is highly likely that they are breeding somewhere in your lawn.
Millipedes are decomposers meaning their diet primarily consists of damp, decaying plant material. Because of this, they are quite beneficial to have in your garden. While they are harmless to humans, millipedes can become a nuisance if they infest your home in large numbers. Prevention is the best method of millipede control. Here are some tips you need to know about how to keep millipedes away from your home.
If there is nowhere for millipedes to hide or breed then they can’t infest your home. Prevent millipedes by removing mulch, leaves, grass clippings, boards, woodpiles, rocks, boxes, etc. from your yard, especially if they are near foundations. If you are unable to remove them completely, try to elevate them off the ground. Try not to overmulch your flowerbeds.
What attracts millipedes is moisture, especially in crawlspaces and around foundations. Make sure your gutters are clear and properly functioning. Consider installing gutter guards to help prevent clogs. Make sure downspouts are pointed away from foundations and use splash blocks to keep water away from foundation walls. Consider installing tiles or drains or sloping the ground so water drains away from foundations. Repair any leaky pipes, appliances, or faucets. Reduce the humidity in your crawlspace and basement with dehumidifiers, sump pumps, or soil covers.
Maintain Your Lawn
Millipedes thrive in the moist layer of thatch that can accumulate on unkempt lawns. Keep your grass mowed short and dethatch the lawn as this will make it less appealing to millipedes. Try not to overwater your lawn. Don’t water your lawn at night as there is no sun to help evaporate the moisture.
Seal Them Out
Millipedes can enter your home through cracks in the exterior of your home or foundation. Seal any cracks or openings in the outside foundation. Use thresholds or door sweeps on all exterior doors. Caulk the outer edges of the thresholds. Seal any expansion joints where sunrooms, patios, and sidewalks are next to foundations. Seal any expansion joints or gaps at the bottom of basement walls.
Wait It Out
Millipedes can only survive for a few days once they get inside your home. The conditions indoors are too dry for them to be able to live long periods of time. The infestation will be short lived and eventually they will die off. Once this happens, you can sweep them up with a broom or vacuum them up.
Contact A Professional
While millipedes don’t cause damage to homes or to the health of humans, they can become quite a nuisance when they invade in large numbers. If you have a problem with millipedes or any other pests, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with the most up-to-date prevention and treatment techniques.
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Seeing “thousand legger”, creepy-crawly, slithering, worm-like pests in mass amounts inside your home? You’re not alone. They’re called millipedes and millipedes in houses are common at certain times during the year, particularly after heavy rains, during drought, or when temperatures drop – all conditions that can make their outdoor habitats less comfortable. Once millipedes are in the house, they’ll search for shelter and a source of moisture – preferring damp areas such as basements, laundry rooms, and crawlspaces.
Here’s everything you need to know about millipedes, what attracts them to your house, and how to prevent a millipede infestation:
What Do Millipedes Look Like?
Millipedes are arthropods, not insects, that typically have hundreds of legs (not thousands as their nickname implies). Their size depends on the species but they usually range from 1/4 to 2 inches long with slender, round bodies – similar to worms.
Are Millipedes Dangerous or Harmful?
Although creepy to some, millipedes are not dangerous or harmful to humans or pets. They don’t bite or sting, infest or damage wood, food or clothing – but they can release an unpleasant-smelling fluid if threatened that may cause skin irritation. If you come directly in contact with millipedes, rinse the affected area immediately after.
What Do Millipedes Eat?
Millipedes feed on dead and decaying matter – anything that’s rotting, dead insects, vegetable matter – which is vital in the decomposition of plants and animals, an important step in the soil fertilization process. They will occasionally eat young plants but the damage is usually minimal.
Where Do Millipedes Come From?
Millipedes prefer to be outdoors and can be found in areas with a lot of moisture – under rocks, piles of wood, flowerpots, in leaf litter or grass clippings, in gardens and flowerbeds, under mulch – any hiding spot that’s damp and undisturbed. You’re more likely to see them at night, when they leave their habitats, crawling around on sidewalks, driveways, patios, etc.
What Attracts Millipedes?
When weather conditions aren’t ideal outdoors, millipedes can migrate into structures in large numbers via doorways, expansion joints, and/or wall voids. Once inside, millipedes will die quickly, especially if there is no abundant source of moisture. If you’re seeing millipedes inside frequently, it may be a sign that they are breeding outside around your home, or that you have moisture issues that need to be corrected.
How to Get Rid of Millipedes
The best way to prevent a millipede infestation is to eliminate debris and decaying matter from around your home and yard – especially around your home’s perimeter, and correct moisture issues. Repair leaking pipes or faucets, check to be sure lawn sprinklers are functioning properly, consider upgrading your gutters with a gutter guard system, and ensure basements or crawlspaces are adequately ventilated. One of the most effective methods to reduce moisture and improve overall home health is to enclose your crawlspace.
If you’re seeing millipedes inside, a quick fix is to use a vacuum to get rid of them. If you’re experiencing a millipede infestation, it could be a sign of other issues, and it’s recommended to get your home inspected by a pest control company that can identify and correct entry points, check for and make suggestions related to moisture problems, and get you on a routine pest control service – to prevents future millipede and other pest infestations. Request a free estimate now or call (888) 466-7849.
Millipedes are arthropods (not insects) that are commonly found in damp, moist locations. They feed on decaying organic matter. Millipedes will usually hide during the day and come out at night when the humidity is higher and dew is present on the ground. Millipedes are often mistaken for centipedes – they have elongated, worm-like bodies with 2 pairs of legs on each segment of their bodies. They are usually about 1 inch long with a hard, round, cylindrical body that is brown to black in color. When they are disturbed or dead they will curl into a spiral.
Finding a millipede in the house is not common. They cannot reproduce indoors and usually only come inside when there is a period of extreme wetness (during the rainy season) or in search of somewhere to overwinter (usually in late Fall). Millipedes are most commonly found in gardens but when they do come indoors they are usually found in the garage, basement, or the lowest level of the home. Millipedes that wander indoors typically die in a short amount of time because of the dryness.
If a millipede does get into your home, are they helpful or harmful? Should you be concerned? Millipedes are NOT harmful to humans. They do not feed on buildings, structures, or furnishings. They also cannot bite or sting. In fact, they can be beneficial in your compost pile as they help to break down the contents. They can cause damage to your garden by destroying seedlings or feeding on vegetables; however, there is no need to eliminate them unless they are causing damage to your plants.
While a millipede infestation is rare, there are things you can do to help prevent these pests from getting into your garden or home. Here are some tips on how to get rid of millipedes:
- Eliminate moisture in garden areas where millipedes are often found or where their eggs can overwinter.
- Rake out any old mulch under plants and replace it with either fresh mulch or straw.
- Put piles of raked leaves into the compost pile away from your home or bag them for disposal.
- Aerate your lawn to reduce thatch.
- Move anything that could provide a habitat for millipedes away from your home (compost piles, firewood, stones).
- Elevate any of these items that cannot be moved.
- Install a band of gravel between foundations and flower beds.
- Seal any cracks in the outside foundation.
- Seal around the bottoms of doors and basement windows.
- Use a dehumidifier to decrease the humidity in your home.
- Water lawns in the morning so they can dry out by afternoon.
- Contact a licensed pest control company who can inspect your home for entry points and help set up a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan.
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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.
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