In this class I will teach you how to stop and prevent a millipede infestation in your house. Before we can discuss how to get rid of and control millipedes you need a basic understanding of what they are and the environments they can lead to an infestation.
Millipedes (all 6000 plus species) are commonly mistaken for insects when in fact they are arthropods. They belong to the diplopoda class which are considered to be the first animals to have inhabited land during the Silurian geological period. In other words, they are very old. Millipedes range in size from a 1/10 of an inch all they way up to 11 inches. Their most obvious feature are their large number of legs. They are generally black or brown in color but their are a few species that are brightly colored.
Most millipedes eat decaying leave and other dead plant matter. Under the proper conditions millipedes can live up to seven years. They reproduce up to 300 millipedes at a time which is why millipede infestations can become quite overwhelming. They generally will head into your home when the temperature begin to drop outside during the fall looking for a more hospitable environment.
Are Millipedes Dangerous?
Considering how creepy looking millipedes are most people think that they would be dangerous or poisonous. In North America millipedes are mostly harmless. However, some people and pets may have an allergic reaction to them but for the most part they are just a gross nuisance. The biggest issue most people have to worry about is when a millipede dies they will excrete some rather stinky fluids that will also stain house hold surfaces.
How to Get a Millipede Infestation Under Control
I always suggest you begin trying to control a millipede infestation with natural products and the preventive techniques discussed below before going to a chemical alternatives. Millipedes effect us when they are in our homes, and the last thing you want to do is bring chemicals into your home around your pets, kids or where you eat.
Natural Millipede Control
Diatomaceous Earth – This is a very effective way to help stop millipedes from ever entering your house. Diatomaceous earth is made up of tiny fossilized diatoms that happen to be very sharp. When a millipede crawls through it, it receives hundreds of tiny cuts that will cause it to dehydrate and die. You can find Diatomaceous earth at your local garden store and should be placed around the foundation of your house and entry points.
Wood Ash – This is a great deterrent for millipedes as they will lay eggs and inhabit damp environments. Wood ash will help dry out the soil directly around your house sending millipedes searching for more habitable environments. Concentrate wood ash around the foundation of your home and rake it into the soil for added effectiveness. If you do this along with Diatomaceous earth you will be creating a double barrier.
Broom and Dust Pan – Most people will laugh at this but the quickest and most effective natural solution is to simply sweep up millipedes into a dust pan and discard of them. They generally will move pretty slow and be easy to catch.
Killing Millipedes with Chemicals
In some situations chemical solutions may be your only option. There are a lot of commercial products available online or at your local gardening store that will help to kill millipedes. Most of them are either aerosols, powders, residual granules or liquid sprays. Remember to only use these after you have tried all other options and preventive measures.
One of the most common chemicals used in commercial products is boric acid. It’s a mild acid that sticks to the body of a millipede and kills it by infection and disrupting its stomach. You can place boric acid along cracks and entry points where millipedes are likely to wander.
How to Prevent Millipedes
The most important aspect of stopping millipede or other critter infestations is prevention. These simple tips will help you prevent ever having a problem with any critters from entering your home.
Seal Cracks – In order for a millipede or other critter to enter your home they have to have an entrance. Go around your house with a caulk gun and seal up cracks in your foundation, around doors and windows. For larger cracks you can buy some wire meshing at your hardware store and attach it over the hole with some liquid nails or another adhesive. Take your time with this and make sure to seal up even the smallest of cracks. Installing door sweeps on all exterior doors is also highly recommended.
Control Inside Moisture – Millipedes can only survive in a high moisture environment. Typically this tends to be in your basement or other damp parts of your house. Purchasing a couple dehumidifiers is a great solution to control your moisture content in your house. You will be amazed at how much water these will pull out of the air. On of the other benefits of a dehumidifier is it will help prevent mold and musty smells. Finally make sure to fix any leaky pipes or faucets.
Outside Moisture Control – This can be a little more difficult than inside moisture control yet it can be done and you should start with your gutters. First make sure your gutters are properly diverting water far away from your house as possible. You can buy an extension for a few bucks at your local hardware store. This will help keep your basement dryer. Next make sure your gutters are free of any debris. I always suggest installing gutter guards which will help prevent leaves and other debris from filling up your gutters.
Create an Inhospitable Environment Around You House – Large piles of leaves or debris close to your house is a breeding and feeding ground for millipedes. Try to keep debris piles as far away from your home and entrances as possible. You should always rake your yard in the fall or this becomes a huge breeding ground for millipedes. Remember that in the fall is when they start looking to come into your house as temperatures drop.
These simple tips will help you get rid of millipedes and stop a future infestation fast. I suggest the preventive measure not only for millipedes but other ugly critters like centipedes or worse yet mold. These are the same tips that any exterminators are going to give you but if you don’t have the time consult with an exterminator to take care of it for you. Make sure to follow the preventive measures as well or you will just be calling your exterminator every six months.