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It’s safe to say some of the bugs we encounter in our gardens and homes are more disgusting than damaging. Millipedes fall into this category. With their many-segmented bodies and even more legs, their appearance makes them unwanted guests in homes. While they don’t cause damage indoors, outdoors they can become pests by damaging garden plants or building up in large populations. You can take steps to keep millipedes from establishing populations in your yard, which will help millipede control in your home.
How to Get Rid of & Control Millipedes
Indoors: If you find a millipede in your home, don’t panic. Most of the time, there is no control measures necessary, since millipedes generally can’t survive indoors. A millipede infestation is more likely to occur outdoors than indoors. If there is a very damp area of your home, try to dry it as best as possible. Focus on area of your home that is infested; if you want to use pesticides, only treat this area. Seal all possible entry points that the millipedes are entering in from, and sweep or vacuum up any dead millipedes.
A residual insecticide can be applied around the perimeter of your home and on the foundation walls and on window and doorsills (outdoors).
Millipedes are worm-like arthropods with cylindrical, shiny bodies. They are brown to black in color and are about one to two inches long. The legs of a millipede often give them away. They have two pairs of legs to each body segment, and the number of segments depends on both the species and age of the millipede. People often get centipedes and millipedes confused. Centipedes have far fewer legs and much longer, more visible legs, with long protrusions coming from the front and back ends of their bodies, while millipede legs are very short and hardly visible if viewed from above.
Millipedes need cool, damp places to live. Outdoors, you will find millipedes under stones, in leaf mold, mulch, compost, compost heaps, grass clippings. At certain times of the year, millipedes tend to migrate and may find their way into your home, again searching out damp and cool areas like basements, crawl spaces, window wells, and garages. This migration could be correlated to changes in weather and mating behavior.
Millipedes are often considered to be beneficial, because they help to break down the soil, but sometimes they feed on your garden. Overripe fruit in contact with soil, like strawberries or tomatoes, or roots and seedlings of beans, corn, and peas are sometimes affected. They can crawl their way in to cabbage, potatoes, beets, and other root vegetables. If inside your home, they will not cause any physical damage. Many people are concerned about millipede bites or stings and whether they are harmful to humans. While millipedes do not bite or sting, millipedes have bristles that can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Millipedes are not poisonous.
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