Millipedes normally live in the garden. They are beneficial insects helping with the re-cycling of dead plant material. They don’t hurt anyone. However, sometimes they do find their way inside homes. If you are worried about millipedes inside your home, there are certainly some tips to reduce their presence. If they do find their way in and you don’t fancy sweeping them up and throwing them back outside, there are a number of products to help you out!
It is also important to know the difference between the slow-moving millipede and the fast-moving centipede, as centipedes have a very nasty bite and should not be picked up!
Millipedes vary in size and colour (depending on species). Millipedes may vary in the number of body segments, but they always have 2 pairs of legs per segment (centipedes have one pair of legs per segment). Young millipedes look just like the adults (only smaller).
For many homeowners, the millipede may only be an occasional invader and are unlikely to experience an infestation. However, for some homeowners, they can become victim to an invasion of millipedes as these can build up in huge numbers in garden beds. An infestation will be apparent when large numbers suddenly appear in the house.
The main pest season for millipedes is autumn, when the millipedes disperse after mating and the chances of an invasion are highest. However, there can sometimes also be an invasion in Spring.
Millipedes are not insects, although they are members of the Arthropod Phylum, which includes insects and spiders. Millipedes generally live outdoors in damp areas such as garden beds. However, they happily live in damp sub-floors in cardboard boxes.
Although millipedes are generally harmless, they can release pungent excretions (to avoid being eaten by birds), which can stain skin and clothes and irritate eyes.
MILLIPEDE PREVENTION TIPS
Keeping the perimeter of the home clear of garden beds and mulch is the best preventative step. However, if this is not possible / desired, non-plant mulch (pebbles) should be used and watering should be kept to a minimum.
Potential entry points to the home should be sealed up appropriately and draft excluders / screens should be in good condition.
Turn off external lights and use curtains / blinds during millipede season to make your home less attractive
Consider using a light trap away from the house as an alternative light source to attract and kill the millipedes
Place smooth rounded physical barriers around the perimeter of the home at ground level to prevent millipedes climbing into your home (they cannot climb smooth surfaces