Millipedes and centipedes are arthropods. They have joints on their bodies and legs, but do not have a backbone. Millipedes have an exoskeleton, which appears as an exterior shell-like covering. They do not pose a health hazard to humans. While millipedes generally do not need to be controlled, you may wish to kill them if they invade your home or destroy your vegetation. Removing the food sources, excess moisture and shelter help to make chemical treatments more effective.
Locate the millipedes.
Remove excess moisture from the area where millipedes congregate. Place fans under crawl spaces or in basements. Removing the moisture will cause the millipedes to leave because they no longer will have a hiding place to thrive.
Remove excess mulch, dead grass, leaves, flat objects and rotting wood from the exterior of the home. Focus on the foundation outside the home if the millipedes are invading it. Millipedes often hide under flat objects during the day and they may invade your garden or home at night.
Seal holes and cracks around the house foundation to prevent the millipedes from entering the home. Sealing the cracks and holes will remove the shelter for the millipedes, which will make the chemical treatments more effective.
Spray insecticide outdoors around the foundation on the ground in the late summer or early fall when millipedes are active. The University of Minnesota suggests purchasing insecticides such as bifenthrun, deltamethrin or permathrin for best results.
Spray residual insecticides onto baseboards, cracks, holes and crevices. According to Utah State University, aerosol or pump formulations will kill the millipedes when they crawl over the surfaces.
Apply a pesticide dust such as boric acid powder around cracks and crevices to prevent the millipedes from entering the home. Apply the powder after you have removed the excess moisture because the pesticide will not work as well if moisture exists, according to Clemson University.
- University of California; Millipede and Centipede Management; Moore, W. S et al.; March 2000
- Utah State University; Millipedes; Dr. Jay B Karren et al.; April 2000
- University of Minnesota Extension; Sowbugs, Millipedes, and Centipedes in the Home; Jeffrey Hahn et al.; 2009
- Clemson University; Millipedes; Eric P. Benson; June 2005
- Vacuum millipedes or pick them up by hand and move them to a location outdoors away from the home if you want to avoid killing them.
- Call a professional exterminator if you have difficulty controlling a millipede infestation.
- Always read pesticides carefully to prevent danger to your health, pets, children or the environment.
- Avoid using pesticides with diazinon and chloropyrifos. The University of California states that these ingredients are hazardous to aquatic invertebrates.
- Apply pesticides that are approved for millipede control.
- Store pesticides away from children and pets.
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