Millipedes are harmless creatures that most people find thoroughly disgusting. There is something in
the human nature that finds revulsion in flat, slinky, multi-legged, crawling, segmented critters. Go figure!
Millipedes are arthropods (not insects) and can live up to seven years. They eat moist, decaying and dead
plant matter and find their way into homes in late fall, sometimes showing up in alarming numbers.
Millipedes do virtually no damage, yet most folks like to get rid of them on the general principle that
ickiness belongs outside the home.
Millipede or Centipede?
Millipedes and centipedes are sometimes mistaken, yet they
are easily differentiated. Millipedes are usually 1 to 6 inches
long while centipedes rarely grow more than 1 ½ inches.
Millipedes are colored brown, dark red or black, while centipedes
are lighter brown or gray with banding colorations. The legs are the most
discernible difference between the two. Millipedes have many small body
segments with two pair of small legs on each segment while centipedes have
fifteen pair of long thin legs. Finally, millipedes will curl up when disturbed.
Centipedes won’t do this rather cool trick!
You Can Get Rid of Millipedes
Millipedes are harmless arthropods that simply disgust people. They enter your home in late fall
to live during the winter. They are easily controlled by drying up moist areas, sealing entry points
and correcting rain gutter problems. You can kill millipedes using organic boric acid, diatomaceous
earth and assorted commercially available chemicals. You can also pick them up, play with them for
awhile, then throw them far away from your home. Good luck with your scuffle with millipedes.
Outdoor Good – Indoor Bad
Millipedes are beneficial outside your home as they aerate the soil and
provide a link in the food chain that exists in your little part of the wild
outdoors. Millipedes will search for a warmer climate in your home when
outside temperature drop. That’s when problems crop up. One millipede may
be nice to play with, but the grossness factor rachets up when millipede
populations reach into the dozens and even the hundreds. They can leave a
slight stain on fabrics and their bodily juices will emit a foul smell when they
are crushed. And of course, there is the heebie-jeebie factor.
Are your rain gutters working correctly?
Poor gutter construction will invite millipede
invasions. Clean your gutters so there is no
standing leaf matter that millipedes love to eat.
Make sure your gutters are sloping downward
from all points and that the water is expelled
several feet away from your foundation and is
flowing away from the home. Millipedes tend
to congregate in the moist areas in and around
gutters. Their next step is inside your house.
Get Rid of Millipedes
Millipedes need a damp environment
to live. A dehumidifier works wonders
in controlling our many-legged
friends. Blow a fan on heavily
infested areas to promote air flow.
Look for leaks in faucets and spigots
around the home. These are prime
locations for millipedes to gather.
Millipedes are completely harmless
to humans. There is no danger
involved with picking them up by
hand or vacuuming the slimy
suckers. Just don’t squeeze them
between your fingers. Their bodily
fluids will emit a stench and slightly
irritate your skin.
Manual Millipede Mayhem
There is a foolproof way to get rid
of millipedes if you don’t like to touch
millipedes, don’t want to dry up any
moist areas around your home, don’t
want to check your rain gutters, don’
t want to seal cracks and crevices
dusts. Remember to use chemical
products with the utmost care and
protection against you and the
Do an inspection of your home for cracks, crevices and holes that are entry
points for millipedes. A good session with a caulk gun may be in order. Check
your doorways for loose closure points. You may want to consider weather
stripping and door sweeps to seal all possible openings. Not only with this
impede the millipedes, but it is also a great strategy for all pest control. And it will
decrease your utility bills!
There are two excellent ways to kill millipedes using organic methods. Boric acid is a natural weak acid
derive from the earth mineral borate. It should be applied to areas of millipede infestation. The boric acid
will stick to their bodies when the millipedes travel through the treated area, and the acid will dry them out
and kill them. Diatomaceous earth works in the same way. Both boric acid and diatomaceous earth are
available in home and garden centers.
There are excellent products available online. Amazon offers a comprehensive list of brand name
products at inexpensive cost in their Home and Garden Store. They even have a special section for
Pest Control. Amazon is the largest online purveyor of pest control products.
Sites and Blogs about Millipedes
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resulting from information dispersed on this site. Always check with experts when dealing with dangerous substances and situations.
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