Millipedes are long, slender creatures. Some people call them “thousand-leggers” because they have so many legs. In fact, almost every segment of the millipede’s body has two pair of legs.
In their natural habitat, millipedes live in damp areas. They need the moisture so they do not dry out. They are nocturnal, so they stay hidden during the daytime when the sun is shining.
Millipedes eat decaying wood and dead leaves. They sometimes eat small insects, earthworms and snails. If they need water, millipedes will sometimes eat green leaves or soft roots of living plants.
Around a home, millipedes would live in flowerbeds. They would hide under mulch or piles of dead leaves. Millipedes could also live under piles of grass clippings or under landscape timbers. In the lawn, millipedes often live in the thatch between the grass and the soil.
Around the end of summer, millipedes migrate from their normal habitat. They also migrate sometimes when heavy rain has flooded their habitat. When the millipedes leave the lawn or the flowerbed, many of them may find their way to the home. Homeowners have reported finding millipedes on the porch and the patio. They have found them around the deck and the spa. Many homeowners also find millipedes inside their home.
Millipedes can enter a home through basement doors or windows or crawlspace vents. The garage door is a common entryway. They can also enter through an entrance door that is missing weather stripping.
Millipedes do not usually live very long in the dry environment inside a home. However, most homeowners prefer to have the millipedes gone. A vacuum cleaner or a shop-type vacuum is useful for removing millipedes from the floors.
To make your flowerbeds less attractive to millipedes, you can remove excess mulch. Use a rake to pull the remaining mulch away from the foundation. Make a gap of six inches or more, if possible, between the mulch and the foundation. Be sure there are no piles of dead leaves or grass clippings near the foundation.
To keep millipedes out of the crawl space, make sure the crawl space vents are properly screened. Check the access door to the crawl space to be sure it closes tightly.
Check the weather stripping on all the exterior doors. Step outside at night and look at the doors. If light is shining under a door, millipedes could crawl under it. Check the basement door too, and make sure the basement windows have screens.
Orkin specialists are trained to help keep millipedes out of your home. They can identify areas where millipedes might be living, and they can point out any other entryways they might be using to get into your home. For more information or to schedule an inspection, please contact your local Orkin branch office.