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Are millipedes an indication of a water problem?

Question: Hello. I recently bought a townhouse (no basement) and I have killed 12-24 “wire bugs” or millipedes in the past week. I’ve only seen them on the main floor at night. My neighbors in the same structure all have the same problem, but they have never looked into the cause of the problem. Is this something that I will just have to live with?

The man at the local hardware store said that these bugs can be an indicator of water damage and rot to either the foundation or walls. Is this true?

I’d like to know if this is just a nuisance or an indication of a larger problem. Because I just bought the place and moved in, I do not know if there has been previous water damage.

ANSWER: The local hardware store fellow is … mostly wrong.

Millipedes live outdoors in moist and decaying organic material, such as dead leaves, flower garden mulch, even the thatch layer in turf grass  These small animals usually go unnoticed outside. Sometimes millipede populations increase rapidly, or their environment gets too wet, and they start to migrate to get away from these conditions. Millipedes usually move to the sides of houses (where it may be warmer and drier); they sometimes come inside under door thresholds and around windows at ground level.

The best control is to remove as much of the moist mulch around doors as possible. This reduces their breeding sites and the favorable areas for them, and make certain the door thresholds are well sealed. These animals don’t infest houses; in fact, they die soon after they enter because the environment is too dry for them.

Second Question: So, let me make sure that I understand correctly … There is no reason to be concerned about water damage to either the foundation or the walls, simply based on the presence of these millepedes. Is that correct? You state that the problem is most likely the presence of decaying, moist material outside near the house. All around the foundation it is clear of organic material … the only thing next to the foundation is rocks and concrete.

Could they be coming in through the floor vents? I seem to see them in the vicinity of the floor vents. If so, what should I do about that? Is there something I can spray along the baseboards (both inside and outside) to reduce their presence there?

SECOND ANSWER: They are not an indication of problems in the walls; not sure about the floor vents, maybe it is simply humid there. These are coming from the outside, probably not inside.

A highly trained Orkin Pest Specialist can come to your home and conduct a very thorough external and internal inspection. After assessing the situation, your Orkin Pest Specialist can make recommendations on ways to prevent the millipedes from entering your home. The Specialist will also develop a customized treatment plan based on science to best meet your needs. Call your local Orkin Branch Office today to set the inspection up.

Related Questions: The Orkin Man used the information above to also answer the following questions submitted by Orkin.com users:

Question: Do you take care of millipedes?

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