How to get rid of millipedes (from House & Garden)

Millipedes crawling in yard's leaf pile
Millipedes crawling in yard's leaf pile

As with most pests, figuring out how to get rid of millipedes from your house, garage, lawn, or garden requires learning about them. You need to learn what attracts millipedes, a bwit about millipedes habits, and how millipedes get into homes, garages, and sheds. If you already have a good handle on why millipedes are attracted to your house, feel free to skip ahead to a specific section via our table of contents. Also, if you have any millipede control tips, please share them in the comments below this article.

Millipede sneaking into home, crawling across a floor
Millipede that snuck into home, crawling across a floor

About Millipede

Millipedes are often mistaken for centipedes. Surprisingly millipedes are considered arthropods that are more closely related to spiders and crustaceans than they are related to bugs. They eat dead and decaying plant matter and can live from five to seven years. Millipedes shed their exoskeleton and produce new legs each molting. They can grow up to 400 legs in their lifetime.

Milipedes often sneak into homes in the late fall to seek shelter for the winter and if there is too much rain they will seek shelter as well as they don’t like too much moisture. Once they reach maturity, a millipede can lay up to 300 eggs and this is a good reason to get rid of them in your home.

The only harm that millipedes can physically cause (that I’m aware of) is mild skin irritation if their defensive fluid gets on you. I’ve picked up many millipedes and have yet to feel itchy from them, but everyone’s different, so be aware of this millipede risk.

Video showing how to get rid of millipede invasion

Controlling millipedes

The first step should be to locate any millipede nests around your home and destroy them so there are fewer millipedes having a chance to get into your home.

Next, seal everything up. If millipedes can’t get into your home, they won’t become a problem indoors. Although it’s not easy, it is doable. Check around the outside of your home and seal or caulk any cracks in your foundation. Look carefully at areas where wires and plumbing enter your structure. Remember they can get through incredibly small spaces so check very carefully and close even the tiniest crack to make sure. Sealing up cracks and crevices that might lead into your home has the added benefit of preventing other insects from entering your home too. It’s good practice to seal your house at least once a year.

Video showing common millipede removal methods

Control the amount of moisture allowed to collect in your home. The millipede requires very high humidity to live and the dryer the area, the less likely you will find them. Dehumidifiers work well for this and also fans in rooms where there is not a lot of airflows. Make sure all water fixtures are secure and you do not have any leaky plumbing in your walls, under sinks, or ceiling. Do not let faucets drip and move furniture around in damp spaces as they will hide in and underneath it. They prefer their area to be cool so turning the heat up will drive them out.

Make the outside of your home uninviting by removing what they like to eat. It will be easier to get rid of the millipede or decrease their numbers by not using as much mulch in your garden or removing wood and compost piles from around the house. Do not let any dead or decaying material lay in your yard including leaves, brush, or logs as this will create a food source for the millipede.

Homemade millipede traps

If you know where millipedes are commonly entering your home, you can place a length of duct tape, sticky side up, and you’ll catch quite a few millipedes. Duct tape’s adhesive is strong enough that most millipedes that cross over it will get stuck on it. Once your strand of duct tape is filled with millipedes, you can then toss the duct tape in your outdoor garbage can (don’t toss it into indoor garbage just in case some millipedes work their way loose).

Video showing how to make millipedes traps using only duct tape

Using pesticides to exterminate millipedes

Millipedes are more annoying than anything else. They’re harmless to you and your pets but most people just find them disgusting and understandably don’t want millipedes invading their homes. Millipedes also emit a stinky fluid when they die, so beyond being an unpleasant sight in your home, they’ll stink it up too. Finally, avoid squishing millipedes in your house when you see them because they’ll leave a stain.

There are some good millipede pesticides on the market:

  • Invader Aerosol
  • CB Borid Turbo
  • CB Intruder HPX

And if you prefer the powder over the aerosol then you can try one of the following:​

  • Drione Dust
  • Delta Dust
  • MotherEarth D
Millipede crawling across the driveway toward the house
Millipede crawling across the driveway toward the house

Natural methods for getting rid of millipedes

If you prefer a more natural method of exterminating millipedes and want to stay away from chemical use; there are several methods open to you.

  • Diatomaceous earth works wonderfully for killing the millipede. It is made up of thousands of fossilized diatoms that are very sharp. When the millipede crawls over it they receive lots of little cuts that will cause them to dehydrate and die.
  • Boric acid which comes from mineral borate and when in powder form can be used to fill cracks the millipede can be found hiding in or using as entry to your home. It will stick to their legs and bodies and act as stomach poison.
  • Chickens may not be possible for all of you to invest in, but these birds are great biological control for the millipede and other pests. They are great bug eaters and actually spend a good portion of their day walking around looking for insects like the millipede to eat.
  • Wood ash is a simple method to get rid of millipedes. The millipede likes to lay their eggs in moist soil. If you take wood ash and mix it into the soil around your home it will keep them away as it will dry out the soil.

Although millipedes are harmless, few people want to share their homes with these unsightly worm-looking creatures. Try the above millipede control and millipede disposal methods to reduce the millipede population in and around your home.

Frequently Asked Questions about how to get rid of millipedes

What natural predators eat millipedes?

Spiders, ants, and ground beetles will sometimes eat younger millipedes. Adult millipedes are often eaten by badgers, hedgehogs, frogs, toads, lizards, shrews, birds, and domestic chickens. Monkey and lemurs will even squish millipedes and rub them on their skin. Millipedes’ stinky odor apparently repells mosquitoes and other insects from monkeys’ and lemurs’ skin

Further resources for removing millipedes

Published
Categorized as Millipedes

By David Jackson

I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and sharing what I learn at NeverPest.com. I aim to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.

2 comments

  1. I have chickens and I wish they ate the millipedes, but they don’t. I’m guessing it’s the smell because chickens normally eat anything.

    1. Hi Dan, thanks for sharing that with us. I’ve also heard from some other NeverPest readers that chickens won’t eat Japanese beetles either. I know Japanese beetles smell terrible when they die, so maybe you’re right that the smell of certain insects can be unappealing to chickens.

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