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Why Are There Millipedes in My House?

By Chris Williams on July 18, 2016.

In the last few days, I’ve found maybe 20 of those dark, worm things that coil up into a circle in our basement laundry room. I don’t know where they’re coming from but we have had a lot of rain here lately so I’m wondering if that has something to do with it. Any ideas on how to keep them out? B. H., Natick, MA

I think you’re talking about millipedes, also known as “thousand-leggers.” Along with earwigs and sowbugs and centipedes, they’re pretty common around the outside foundation of homes. Millipedes are scavengers, feeding mostly on decaying plant material.

Millipedes are found outside in your yard in damp places such as in leaf litter, mulch, flowerbeds, compost, rotting wood, and under stones and debris. When their outside sites become less habitable due to excess rain, drought, or cooler fall temperatures, millipedes migrate, often ending up in homes. Once inside, millipedes gravitate toward damp areas like laundry rooms and basements. They don’t bite or cause damage inside and usually die fairly quickly due to lack of moisture.

Three Ways to Keep Millipedes Out of Your House

1) Dry out and change conditions outside so that millipedes are less attracted to certain sites around the foundation. This can mean removing rotting wood, piles of leaves, mulch, or grass clippings, especially directly against the foundation. Keep this area bare if possible. Mowing your lawn short and letting it dry out at night also helps.

2) Pest-proof your home so that pests can’t enter the basement through doors, windows, below-grade window wells, openings where pipes or lines enter, etc. Adding thresholds and weather-stripping around doors and caulking or sealing other openings will help keep millipedes and other foundation pests out.

3) Call Colonial Pest and ask about our Preventative Maintenance Program treatment for foundation pests. We offer a semi-annual, low-impact, exterior pest control treatment that is specifically targeted to intercept pests that try to move indoors. And by the way, we can do that pest-proofing for you, too!

For more on managing millipedes, check out these Colonial blogs:

Photo Credit : Martin Cooper | CC BY 2.0

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