Millipedes live on the ground in areas with lots of moisture. Wet plant matter, especially decaying vegetation and mulch, is a millipede’s ideal living condition. You might find millipedes in your yard or in damp piles of wood or leaves around your house.
Several factors can cause millipedes to move indoors. Too much or not enough moisture, a shortage of decaying material and overpopulation can push millipedes out of their natural habitats and into contact with humans. Indoors, millipedes usually live in garages or basements. There, they can live in the humidity under boxes or wooden beams. However, most millipedes can’t survive for long indoors.
Many millipedes migrate during the fall but they’ve also been known to migrate after too much rain pushes them away from their habitat. Migrations frequently lead millipedes into homes and other buildings, searching for new shelter.
Millipedes are arthropods, not insects—they’re also invertebrates. They have an cylindrical exoskeleton and eat decomposing plant matter. Centipedes, on the other hand, are carnivores. Millipedes aren’t harmful to humans; they can’t bite and they’re not venomous. However, some species excrete a chemical as a defense mechanism that can irritate skin.
Millipedes are most active at night. They break down dead plants and leaves as they move through the material. They mostly eat particles of decaying wood and other plant material. Sometimes, millipedes that can’t find enough moisture in the soil begin feeding on living plants to access water.
Millipedes molt many times, growing longer each time they shed that old part of their exoskeleton. These arthropods then eat the skin they’ve molted so they don’t waste any nutrients.
A female millipede can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, hiding them in the ground or in a burrow. In a few weeks, the eggs hatch into young millipedes with few segments. The lifespan of a millipede depends on its environment and ranges from a few months to five or more years.
Though millipedes are not harmful to humans and can sometimes be beneficial to gardens, they become a nuisance pest when large numbers start living around or entering the home. These pests need shelter to lay eggs and survive the winter. The first sign of an infestation is usually seeing the millipedes, as they don’t affect human food or fabric like other pests.
Millipedes usually enter homes because they were driven out of their natural habitat. Areas with high levels of moisture let these pests survive indoors. Poor drainage around a building’s foundation and lots of fallen leaves can attract hundreds of millipedes, especially in the fall.
The decaying materials in compost piles are also very attractive to millipedes. Even compost bins that aren’t well closed off provide a fairly easy food source for these pests.
With the right conditions, millipede infestations can grow quickly. These pests can damage plants and make your house uncomfortable. Don’t let millipedes into your house. Call Aptive Environmental today to control an infestation or prevent future pest problems.
You can help keep millipedes away from your house by following our tips:
Keep moisture levels to a minimum by installing better drainage, cleaning up piles of wood or leaves and keep your lawn short so it can dry.
Seal all cracks and holes in your house’s exterior walls and foundation.
Use fans or dehumidifiers to ventilate storage areas, such as basements and crawl spaces.
Call your local Aptive branch for a same-day millipede control solution.
A millipede infestation can be an irritating pest problem that’s difficult to control without professional help. Large infestations might require multiple treatments to remove.