Millipedes are dark colored and worm-like arthropods that are commonly found coiled up on moist soil beneath objects like stones, logs, leaf litter, potted plants, landscape ornaments, and firewood. Millipedes thrive in high moisture environments, and they remain hidden in the above mentioned locations during the daytime hours. Millipedes become active during the night when humidity levels are high or when dew is present. Like termites and ants, millipedes are ecologically important arthropods, as they break down decaying organic matter, which contributes to continued plant growth. While millipedes are beneficial to various ecosystems, and do not bite or damage property, they are well known for invading homes in significant numbers where they congregate in moist indoor areas. Since millipedes are only between .0625 to 1 inch in length and seem to be slow movers, they have been documented as traveling as far as 50 feet solely to seek out hospitable areas within homes.
Millipedes migrate into homes in massive numbers when outdoor conditions become excessively dry, wet or too crowded. Millipede migrations can cover considerable distances, and the spring and fall see the highest number of infestations in homes, but migrations are generally short lived. Millipedes become abundant in shaded areas on residential lawns, and they usually invade homes through cracks, crevices and other exterior entry points on the shaded side of homes. During the day, millipedes already inhabit exterior crevices that often lead indoors. Once indoors, millipedes gather in basements, laundry rooms, bathrooms and other moist areas, but moisture content within homes is normally insufficient to support a large number of millipedes, so they usually die within a short time. However, millipedes can become chronic pests in homes where leaking pipes, outdoor drainage issues or rainwater leaks provide the arthropods with sufficient moisture. In these cases, infestations can only be eliminated once leaks are repaired and/or when moisture is reduced with a dehumidifier. Sealing exterior cracks and crevices will prevent millipedes from accessing homes, but professional perimeter treatments are sometimes necessary for millipede control around homes.
Have you ever encountered millipedes within your home?