Do I have to live with wire bugs in my basement?

Question: 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. The townhouse is 15 years old in Eagan, Minn.

Answer: The local hardware store fellow is ... mostly wrong.

Millipedes live outdoors in organic material that is mostly moist and decaying: dead leaves, garden mulch, sometimes turfgrass.

Their numbers can increase quickly if their environment gets too wet. Then they may move somewhere drier or warmer, such as the sides of houses. They can get inside homes by going under door thresholds or around windows.

Be sure to remove any moist mulch near doors. Be sure that doors are sealed tight. The good news is that they usually die after they enter your house because it is too dry for them.

For further assistance, contact your local Orkin Branch Office to set up an inspection by a highly trained Orkin Pro. Your Pro will develop a customized treatment plan backed by science that best meets your needs.

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