Millipedes usually live outside in damp areas under mulch, leaves, compost piles, flowerpots, boards or stones. However, they may wander into your house by mistake or in search of water during periods of drought or in need of shelter when heavy rains drive them from their natural habitat, causing an infestation in your home, basement, crawl space or garage.
If you have a heavy millipede infestation in your house, there are likely millipedes breeding in your lawn or under mulch, leaf litter or debris near your foundation.
Preventing millipedes from entering your home is the best approach to millipede control. Michael F. Potter, extension entomologist at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, says to remove mulch, leaves, grass clippings, boards or woodpiles, stones, boxes and similar items that are on the ground next to your foundation, as these items attract millipedes. If you can’t remove an item, raise it off the ground.
Here are a few other ways for how to get rid of millipedes.
Use properly functioning gutters, down spouts and splash blocks to keep water away from your foundation wall. If your house has poor drainage, you may need to install tiles or drains or slope the ground so water drains away from your foundation.
Repair leaky faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units.
Adjust your sprinkler system to minimize water pooling on your lawn.
Reduce humidity in your crawl space or basement by providing adequate ventilation, sump pumps and/or polyethylene soil covers.
Millipedes also thrive in the moist thatch layer of poorly maintained lawns. De-thatch your lawn and mow the grass short to make it less appealing to millipedes. Avoid over-watering or watering your yard at night to keep millipedes at bay.
Seal cracks and openings in your outside foundation. Here are a few suggestions for how to best accomplish this:
Apply thresholds or tight-fitting door sweeps at the base of all exterior doors.
Caulk the sides and bottom outside edge of door thresholds.
Seal expansion joints where patios, sunrooms and sidewalks are next to your foundation.
Inside your house, seal expansion joints and gaps along the bottom of your basement walls.
Apply insecticides. A trained pest management professional will know best how to apply and how to kill millipedes with insecticide. To kill millipedes, apply insecticides to these outdoor areas:
Along the bottom of exterior doors
Around crawl space entrances
Around foundation vents and utility openings
Up underneath siding
Along the foundation, in mulch and plant beds; be sure to rake back mulch and leaf litter to expose the millipedes’ hiding places
A few feet up the base of the foundation wall
Applying insecticide along the interior foundation walls of your damp crawl space or unfinished basement may also help with millipede control. A Terminix® pest control specialist can easily take care of this for you.
Wait it out. Millipedes can only live for a few days in the dryness of your house, so your millipede infestation will be short-lived.
Remove potential food sources and habitats from in and around your home.
Millipedes curl up into a tight coil when they’re disturbed or dead. You can just pick them up with your vacuum or broom.