Millipedes aren’t commonly found indoors; they are typically found outdoors in gardens or yards in areas with high moisture content. They feed on decaying organic matter and usually come out at night when humidity is higher.
Millipedes can give you quite a scare if they do get inside your home. They are elongated, worm-like pests with 2 pairs of legs on each of their body segments. They are brown to black in color and will curl into a ball when disturbed or dead.
Besides the fear factor at finding a pest with all those legs, are millipedes harmful to humans? What are the pros and cons of having millipedes around?
Millipedes aren’t harmful to humans. They cannot bite or sting. They also don’t feed on nor do damage to any structures or furnishings in and around homes. They will sometimes feed on seedlings in gardens causing damage to plants or crops. They are beneficial in compost piles in helping to break down the contents.
Overall, if millipedes aren’t causing significant damage to your plants and you aren’t finding significant numbers of them in your home, there is no need to get rid of them. If they are causing an issue, however, there are some steps you can take 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.