Many people simply don’t like “bugs” of any kind. So when they see a millipede or centipede they immediately go into extermination mode. While we have the choice to get rid of millipedes or allow them to go their way, it may be a good idea to learn a bit more about this unusual, many-legged creature.
First of all, millipedes are not true insects. They are arthropods. Their closest relatives are spiders and crustaceans. There are thousands of different types of millipede but all of them are similar in at least one way – they have a lot of legs! These little fellows live a long time, with some individual members of the group living five years or more.
Since millipedes feed on decaying plant substances we often see them around gardens, compost piles and in the yard. They do try to get to warmer places when weather starts to turn cold so we could see a few of them inside during the fall and early winter. They will lay hundreds of eggs once they mature so there is little chance of them going away on their own. So if you see one of these many-legged creatures then watch it roll up into its protective ball you will know for sure that it isn’t alone.
Keep Them Out
The best way to get rid of millipedes is to keep them from coming into your home or other buildings on your property. Seal up all the cracks and small holes that might allow tiny insects, millipedes and other pests in. Prime areas are: caulking around windows, holes where wires and pipes enter the building, under doors etc.
Keep your home as dry as is healthy for you and your family. Millipedes don’t like a lot of rain but they do thrive in humid indoor settings. If you can reduce the moisture in your basement, storage areas, garage and so on you may be able to cut down the number of millipedes that take up residence with you. Look for them in cabinets, under sinks and work benches as well as in drop ceilings and unused corners.
If you can prevent water from standing in gutters, drain pipes and other level locations you may be able to reduce the millipede numbers. Run the gutter downspouts away from the house to reduce overall moisture. This is a good idea even if you don’t have millipedes.
Millipedes will do a lot of their moving at night, so look for them in the morning. Make sure that any damp spots are completely dry before evening so the millipedes will be less likely to move to those areas. Millipedes will gather in garden mulch, compost heaps and wood piles so do what you can to clean those up. Move them around regularly and discourage the millipedes from hanging around.
If you discover a number of millipedes lying around or crawling around, get a broom and dustpan and sweep them up. They are harmless. But you should take the bag or other container far from your home. Dump the millipedes into a container that you can close up. Don’t let them get a new start.