So, you need to get rid of millipedes that are crawling all over your home.
All those tiny legs. All over your bathroom, basement, and even your bedroom!
Don’t worry. In this article, we’ll cover:
- How to identify a millipede (so you know it’s not a centipede)
- Why you have a millipede infestation in your house
- Ways to naturally get rid of them
- How to keep them away from your home and garden
- Techniques to eradicate them from your plants
- Other ways to repel and deter millipedes
- And more
You should all the basics covered by the end of this guide. This is a huge resource that took me a lot of time to put together.
It focuses on natural home DIY remedies to get rid of these pests.
I hope you get some use out of it and eliminate those creepy crawlies! Eeek.
Feel free to bookmark this page for easy reference so you can come back if needed.
And if you have any questions, post a comment for me!
Sound good? Let’s drive those millipedes out of your home!
What’s a millipede?
A millipede is commonly confused with a centipede, but they’re entirely different species.
The name literally means “a thousand feet.” But none actually have that many legs.
Millipedes are known for their funky smell from the foul odor they leave behind.
They’re moisture-loving pests that seek out humid environments and are often found outdoors in the yard.
However, they can also be found crawling around the home, especially near patio doors, windows, or other areas like the basement.
They’re destructive towards younger seedlings and will readily eat a whole host of plants and other small pests. The millipede is common and often found after rains or storms.
Let’s cover some of the basics first, then move on to methods you can use to get rid of them from your home and garden.
Other names and common household species
These are the most common types of millipedes found in homes:
- Portuguese millipedes
- Thousand feet
- Pill millipedes
- Bristle millipedes
- Black millipedes
- “Tiny” millipedes
Millipedes have many different patterns, colors, sizes, and shapes.
They can range from 1” up to 14” in length. Most millipedes found in the home are black or tan in coloration.
Some are even capable of producing cyanide to defend against predators. You may even notice some “glowing” millipedes as they can exhibit bioluminescence.
Millipedes have noticeable segmented bodies that have a repeating pattern. They have dozens of legs and can be quite lengthy.
Their signature look is the worm-like extension of their body with tiny legs crawling across surfaces. Some people may confuse them with worms or caterpillars.
The head is noticeably rounded on the top and flat on the bottom. They have a small pair of antennae and large mandibles to chew.
There are seven or eight segments and sensory cones at the tip of their antennae. You won’t see this unless you look closely or have a magnifying glass.
They have large beady eyes on both sides of their head.
Their body can be flat or cylindrical with a hard exoskeleton. The first segment behind the head has no legs (column), but the second, third, and fourth segments all have a single pair of legs.
After that, each segment has two pairs of legs, except for the last few segments (for most). Various species exhibit different features like ridges, crests, spines, notches, and papillae on their body wall.
The legs have seven segments and are identical for the most part. Some males have different sized legs for the first pair compared to females.
The number of legs ranges between 34-400 legs, on average.
Fun fact: No millipede has been found that actually has 1000 legs, as the name suggests.
Millipede vs. centipede
There are a few differences between millipedes and centipedes that you can use to tell them apart.
- Millipedes have two pairs of legs on most segments, while centipedes have one pair per segment.
- Millipedes’ legs are attached to the bottom of their body segments, while centipedes are attached on the sides.
- Millipedes have spiracles on their underside, while centipedes have them on top or the sides.
- Millipedes eat mainly plants and fewer bugs, while centipedes mainly eat bugs.
- Lipids usually move slower than centipedes.
- Millipedes burrow and live in small hiding places, while centipedes run all over the place.
You can also easily tell the difference between them from afar just by looking at their legs. Millipedes will have “shorter” legs which are tucked under their body. Centipedes will have “longer” legs that spread out to the side.
This will help you identify if you have a millipede vs. centipede problem.
Life cycle of a millipede
Millipedes have simple life cycles.
The adults will spend the entire winter hiding in a protected shelter until spring.
The mature female deposits her eggs within moist soil or hidden under organic matter (such as leaf litter).
The eggs then hatch and look like miniature versions of the adults. They eat and slowly grow in size by adding segments, each with a pair of legs.
Each female deposits up to 400 eggs in the springtime.
The eggs hatch within several weeks depending on local conditions. Millipedes reach adulthood around 2-5 years and are capable of breeding at this time.
Sexual maturity depends on the species, but the timeframe is usually the same.
Millipedes tend to come out after heavy rain or colder weather, as they need moist conditions to survive.
How fast they grow and how long eggs take to hatch depends on the temperature, soil conditions, and local environment.
Warmer temperatures with damp soil tend to be favorable to millipedes. Millipedes do not breed inside homes. Different species have different habits when it comes to breeding. But no species will specifically breed indoors only.
Why do I have millipedes in my house?
They probably wandered into your home by mistake.
Or there may be sudden hatching of the eggs nearby your home.
This could lead to millipedes wandering their way into your house by accident. Rain and colder temperatures may lure them into your home.
Are millipedes bad for your house?
No, not really.
Millipedes may look like something out of a horror movie, but they’re really not at all bad for your house.
Some people may even consider them to be beneficial as they eat other bugs in the home.
But to wake up in the night to come across a long millipede crawling on the bathroom floor ain’t a pretty sight (or in your bed!).
That’s why most people want to get rid of them even if they can help with pest control, just like daddy long legs or centipedes.
Are they bad for plants?
Millipedes are generally harmless towards healthy plants.
They eat decaying matter or plants that are already dead. This usually leaves or other plant materials found in the yard. Some millipedes will eat young seedlings, which can be a threat especially when they get into greenhouses.
So the answer is a mixed bag. To healthy and established plants, they’re not harmful. To young seedlings, they can be.
But most species feed on plant matter that’s easy to chew and digest, which is why they eat younger plants and leaf litter. This makes millipedes a potential threat to the yard.
The same goes for houseplants. If a millipede finds its way into an indoor plant, it can severely damage the plant if it’s young.
Since most store-bought plants are still young, this can be a problem. Some plants are already infected from the store!
Millipedes can also be good for your garden because they eat up dead plants and also feed on some small pests. If your yard is full of mature and healthy plants, they won’t cause much plant damage at all.
But watch out for swarms and/or high numbers. Or if you have young plants.
What causes millipedes in your house?
There is no real “cause.” These arthropods will appear seemingly out of nowhere.
The most common reason is that they made their way into your house by accident.
These bugs don’t naturally even want to be in a household, as they’re native to the outdoors and prefer small hiding places in leaves, rocks, cracks, stones, dirt, etc.
But you can assess it differently:
If you have millipedes in the home, they must’ve found their way in through an entry point, right?
You need to find out where they’re coming from and seal up that point. You can also do an assessment and make your house less appealing to them by eliminating attracts.
They like humid environments, plant matter, and clutter so they can hide. Check out your home for all these favorable conditions and eliminate them. Then you can naturally repel millipedes from ever coming inside your house.
Are house millipedes dangerous?
Most species of millipedes are harmless towards humans.
They don’t bite, sting, or transmit any known disease for most house types.
Some even consider them to be a benefit as they eat up other bugs around the home. But then it’s a tradeoff. Which bug would you rather have? None.
However, some species produce toxic compounds in their body and others are even venomous.
So you should never assume that the millipede you’re dealing with is safe. Always use protection before handling one and never let your pets near them.
Millipede can make and release a liquid that smells terrible.
This is to discourage predators from eating them and they’ll release when they feel threatened. When a millipede tightly coils up, it’s getting into defense mode and this is commonly when they release the smelly substance.
This liquid can cause some skin irritation. Thus, it needs to be washed off ASAP. Some people may have allergic reactions to them, so always be careful. NEVER touch one directly!
Toxins and venomous fangs
Some species are capable of producing some toxins and some even have venomous bites.
These aren’t the common type, but if you’re somewhere in the wild, you should still be careful as there are many different species and you probably don’t know which exact species you’re dealing with.
Again, some people can be allergic to the toxins.
Do millipedes lay eggs in houses?
No, millipedes don’t reduce or deposit eggs within a home.
The only place that’s suitable is your houseplants’ organic soil, but even then, there’s very little chance that they’ll actually use your soil.
So you don’t need to worry about them laying eggs in your bed, furniture, floorboards, attic, basement, etc.
Where do millipedes lay their eggs?
They naturally lay eggs outdoors in the moist soil or other foliage and don’t reproduce inside households. Millipedes lay their eggs in soil or other decaying organic matter. This means that millipedes don’t lay eggs in houses unless you have houseplants.
But this doesn’t mean that it’s something to ignore.
They can easily just reproduce outside of your home, which may lead to a serious infestation over time when you have multiple millipedes showing up by wandering their way into your house!
If you have plants indoors, you may find some crawling around on the soil of the plant.
Although it’s rare for them to lay eggs on indoor plants, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Millipedes that you find in your home wandered in by mistake or were trying to escape the temperature fluctuations outdoors.
They may also be attracted to foliage or moisture content within your house. Millipedes are NOT bugs that live indoors, and they’d very much prefer to be outside.
How many babies do millipedes have?
How many? A lot.
A single egg deposit can have up to 500 babies born at the same time. This is why you may notice a bunch of them swarming your home and suddenly appearing out of nowhere since they hatch around the same date.
Depending on the species, environment, and temperature, the days to incubate and spawn size varies.
Will millipedes crawl on your bed?
They don’t care if they’re crawling on your bedroom floor, bathroom tub, on your bed, or even on your skin. If they so happen to be foraging for food and somehow crawl up onto your bed, then yes, millipedes will crawl on your bed.
You need to think of it from their perspective- they don’t even know what a bed is. So why would they care about avoiding one?
If there’s food, moisture, or shelter, a millipede will be attracted. But what are the actual chances of finding one in your bed? Pretty low. But is it possible? Yes.
What attracts millipedes in your house?
The simple answer? Moisture. High humidity attracts millipedes as it’s necessary for them to survive and molt property.
They may also come into your home because of foliage if you have a lot of houseplants, or they could be escaping changes outdoors such as temperature fluctuations.
They may have also just wandered into your home by mistake, especially if they live in an area that’s naturally humid and they’re right outside your home in your yard.
There may also be pests, foliage, or other organic matter that they’re attracted to.
What kills millipedes instantly?
Poisons work best, especially carbaryl or permethrin-based pesticides. They kill upon contact.
Commercial and industrial poisons can kill them instantly, but the problem is that you’ll have a bunch of pesticides lingering around your home.
This is why you should use a natural approach like apple cider vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or even bleach if you don’t care for being natural.
How do you control a millipede infestation?
You’ll want to start from the outside first.
Read this page and follow the steps to getting rid of them outdoors (caulking crevices, sealing up entry points, and replacing damage foundation). Then move to the inside and set up repellents, traps, and other methods to control millipedes.
How to get rid of millipedes naturally
Here are some DIY home remedies to control millipedes and eradicate them from your home and garden.
Some of these work best indoors. Others are best for outdoor control. Use your own best judgment to see how you can use them to get rid of the pest.
Remember to use multiple control methods, not just one.
You can easily make a millipede trap as a home remedy to catch them passively.
The best part about setting a trap at home is that you don’t have to be there to constantly check on it. If you’re a busy person (who isn’t?), millipedes traps can be beneficial to save you time. This is a handy home remedy that eradicates millipedes automatically.
The easiest trap to make is a tube trap. This only requires a few different things- a vinyl tube, a plastic water bottle, and some bait.
Here’s how to make one:
- Buy some vinyl tubing that’s large enough in diameter for the millipedes you’re dealing with inside your home.
- You can get it at any hardware store for a few cents. You just need about 6” or so of tubing. To make it easier, just buy tubing that fits perfectly into the lip of the bottle.
- Get bait for the trap. Millipedes can be lured using a piece of ripe fruit.
- Drop the bait into the bottle so it sits at the bottom.
- Slide the vinyl tube into the bottle so that about 2” is inside the bottle. You may need to drill a hole into the cap if you got a small diameter tubing. Otherwise, make sure the tube is flush against the opening. You can caulk or tape it in place.
- Lean the bottle on its side. The bait should be placed at the far end so the millipede has to crawl through the tube to get into the bottle to get to the bait.
- Make sure the tube that extends into the bottle does NOT touch the bottle edges. The point is that the bug will crawl into the tube because of the scent of the fruit.
- After the millipede starts to crawl through the tube and falls into the bottle, it can’t get back out.
- This is why the end of the tube inside the bottle can’t touch the edges so it has nothing to climb on to get back out. On the outside, the tube should lie on any surface where you suspect millipedes to be.
- Make a few of these traps and place them around your home.
- This is a safe, natural, and effective method to get rid of millipedes.
Here’s a video of a slight variation of one:
Spray essential oils
People say there are essential oils you can use to kill pesky millipedes. However, I wasn’t able to find any proof that they actually work as a pesticide, but rather, work more effectively as a repellent.
Specifically, tea tree oil and peppermint oil can keep millipedes from coming into your house if you apply it around entry points.
Just like many of the other repellents on this page, you’ll want to spray the oils around window sills, door gaps, basements, vents, foundation cracks, crawl space, etc.
The oil is very smelly, so don’t use it where you’ll be spending time.
Use it outdoors and in areas shielded from the rain. The oil has a lingering effect so it’ll stay there for some time. Most essential oils are completely natural and safe for humans, but you still want to read the label and do your research first.
Typically, you’ll buy a bottle and delete it with water. Just a few drops per liter of water does the trick. You’ll have to play around to get the dilution quantities just right.
Bleach kills everything.
But you should avoid using bleach as a pesticide because it’ll do more harm to your surfaces (and your skin). I’d suggest turning to a natural alternative rather than using bleach.
Sure, it’ll kill millipedes, but that’s overdoing it. It’s like using a steamroller to crush a bug. Not necessary.
Remove them manually
The fastest way to bring down their numbers is to remove them manually whenever you come across one. If you don’t, that leaves the chance that they may mate and lay more eggs, which will just bring dozens of millipedes to your yard and home.
This is the best way to get rid of the small, tiny black ones you see in your home. And even if you’re squeamish, you can use a vacuum or shop vac rather than touching them (you should never be touching them in the first place!).
You can remove them using a broom and dustpan and then dumping the millipede into a bucket of soapy water to kill it. Never attempt to grab one by hand to minimize any bacterial transmission.
Alternatively, you can use a vacuum to suck them up and dispose of them safely.
Don’t throw live millipedes in your home trash bins because this won’t kill them and they can escape. You can use a floor vacuum or shop vac to suck them out and remove them quickly.
Dehumidify your home
Moisture is a necessity for millipedes to survive.
That’s why they tend to congregate in areas with high humidity content.
This is why you find them crawling around in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas where moisture stems from water. Reduce water content where possible.
For household rooms, you can bring the moisture levels in the air down by doing the following:
Bathrooms and kitchens
- Wipe up any excess moisture after washing hands, bowls, silverware, etc. with a towel
- Open windows or patio doors to promote air exchange
- Use less water when possible
- Don’t turn the faucet to “full blast”
- Seal or cap containers with liquid
- Repair any leaky faucets or plumbing
- Wash everything at once rather than throughout the day
Basements and garages
- Wipe up any excess moisture
- Clean up water spills
- Dry cars, tools, and other equipment outdoors
- Store wet equipment outdoors
- Fix any leaky drains, AC units, water pipes, sumps, sewage systems, drains, etc.
- Use a dehumidifier
- Clean up any backed-up gutters
- Keep water away from your foundation wall
- Fix any damaged drains
- Fix any sloping tiles or unlevel ground
- Repair leaky plumbing systems and drains
- Fix sprinkler systems
- Cover or get rid of water features
- Practice good pool maintenance
- Fix downspouts and splash blocks that are backed up
All these tips should be practiced to bring down the moisture levels in the air. This will help stop millipedes from entering your home.
They’re attracted to thick moisture content as they need it to sustain themselves. Take this critical element away from them and they’ll keep out of your home.
Clean up your yard
This another obvious but overlooked technique you can practice to naturally keep millipedes away from your home.
These pests seek out unkept yards with a ton of clutter, foliage, and plant matter all over the place. This means if you don’t keep your garden tidy, then you should expect to attract millipedes and a bunch of other garden pests like firewood pests, pincher bugs, and recluse spiders.
Millipedes are especially attracted to lawns that have leaf clutter. The leaves provide them a nice dark place to hide and also traps moisture. The thatch layer of your grass also tends to be a perfect environment for these bugs.
Always keep your lawn mowed and clean up any leaf litter.
Here are some other tips to get rid of millipedes outdoors:
- Avoid overwatering your lawn and plants
- Don’t over-fertilize
- Get rid of rocks, leaf piles, trash, etc.
- Clean up any backed up runoff, gutters, and drains
- Keep your plants pruned
- Always mow your lawn
- Clean up leaf litter and plant matter
- Secure trash and compost storage
- Clean up clutter
- Remove food sources
- Eliminate any possible habitats for pests
- Keep woodpiles off the floor
- Remove or store any unnecessary equipment
- Set up a DIY remedy around your yard to repel millipedes
Removing hiding places will help reduce the number of millipedes you encounter.
Secure your household
As with any good housekeeping practice, you need to protect your home from entry points.
Maintaining your house and doing basic TLC will help you block not only millipedes but a variety of other pests from getting inside like grasshoppers and pantry moths. If you think about it, the only way a millipede can get into your home is through a possible entry point. If you block these, then they can’t get in.
Does that make sense?
If you’re not handy, consider hiring a professional to do some repairs around the home.
Here are some areas you’ll want to inspect to make sure they’re secure from the outdoors:
- Repair all foundation cracks
- Check for cracks and crevices around the home
- Fix any damaged window screens
- Replace damaged weatherstripping
- Check for entry points into the basement through vents
- Seal up or caulk door gaps
- Seal joints between doors and your home
- Check for damaged wood or panels
- Check underneath siding and along the foundation
- Caulk or block crawlspaces
Diatomaceous earth kills millipedes
You can buy some food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) from a department store. Make sure it’s 100% pure and food grade.
This powder is a crystalline substance that’s natural from the earth. It contains razor-sharp crystals that pierce hard exoskeletons. Millipedes that crawl through the DE will get micro punctures all over their body.
This dehydrates and kills them over time since they depend on moisture content.
DE makes an effective and safe natural killer and can be used around the home.
Sprinkle some in key areas that you suspect millipedes to be active. Here are some locations:
- Around the perimeter of rooms
- Under appliances
- Under door gaps (this can prevent millipedes from entering a room)
- Within bathrooms or kitchens
- On patio door sliders
- Around your home’s foundation
- In houseplant soil
- Outdoors around your plants
- Under your garden fence
- Around your home’s perimeter as a batteries
While DE is safe for humans, you should still wear gloves and protective goggles when handling it. Avoid placing it where people or pets will come into direct contact with the crystals.
Also, avoid spilling it where the moisture is very high and doesn’t clear on its own. This dilutes the effectiveness of powder.
Consider adding a dehumidifier in high humidity areas of your home. This will discourage millipedes and stop them from entering those areas.
Boric acid can be used the same way as diatomaceous earth. Boric acid will also cut up the millipede as the pest crawls across it.
The powder also upsets the digestion of the millipede that tends to kill it faster compared to DE. Be sure to practice safe handling also.
Don’t use it in areas where pets or kids or others can come into contact with it.
This stuff is cheap and a nice natural repellent for millipedes.
You can buy boric acid at most department stores in the laundry aisle.
Will baking soda kill millipedes?
There is no proof that baking soda is effective against millipedes, so you should resort to proven methods of control. Use boric acid, DE, or essential oils rather than baking soda.
The only thing you can do with baking soda is to use it to get rid of the smell millipedes excrete.
Baking soda doesn’t repel or kill millipedes, making it pretty much useless for millipede eradication.
This is a natural repellent for millipedes.
You can buy wood ash at hardware stores and some specialty retailers or just buy the stuff online. Mix the wood ash with your outdoor soil.
The ash acts as a sponge to soak up excess water in your soil, which will reduce the overall moisture content and attract fewer millipedes.
Since the females deposit eggs in the soil, they’ll be discouraged to do so because the soil isn’t moist. This makes it inhospitable for millipedes to reproduce and may disrupt the life cycle in your yard.
Read the product label for the wood ash and use the product as directed. Get an organic one for organic millipede control.
Use cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper will repel a variety of bugs, not limited to just millipedes solely.
You can buy cayenne pepper and grind it up yourself or you can buy the powder form to save time. Just sprinkle it around the areas you see millipede activity.
Also put some around the foundation and entry points of your house such as patio doors, crawl spaces, vents, and windowsills.
The pepper will keep bugs out. The nice part about pepper is that it’s all-natural and can even be organic. It also has a residual effect that lasts and lasts so you don’t need to keep replacing it.
You can even make a pepper repellent using store-bought peppers.
Sulfur stinks. And millipedes hate it.
You can buy sulfur in pure form and sprinkle it around the home or make a sulfur spray out of it. Most industrial supply stores have sulfur powder available. Get the pure form.
Then sprinkle the powder around your home to act as a natural barrier to keep them out. Sulfur will also repel spiders, beetles, mites, chiggers, and more.
You can mix it with water to make a millipede spray. Don’t spray it on the bugs directly. It’s a REPELLENT, not a PESTICIDE. This stuff won’t’ kill millipedes, but rather help keep them away.
Sulfur smells, so don’t use it where you’ll be spending a lot of time.
Some herbs can be used to deter millipedes and other arthropods. Check out indicia and see if you can buy some in your area.
This herb is toxic to arthropods and other hard-shelled pests like American cockroaches and large garden beetles.
You’ll want to wear gloves and goggles when handling them and always follow the label. Use it outdoors around the perimeter of your home as a barrier to keep millipedes away.
Don’t let other people, pets, or kids come into contact with indicia. You may also want to read about the potential dangers of the herb before you use some.
Other than herbs, there are many different plants that you can use to keeps bugs out of your garden.
Use mongoose urine
Mongoose urine has been speculated to help repel millipedes. You can order this stuff frozen or in containers and use it around the home. Use as directed.
I couldn’t find hard evidence that this actually works other than online rumors that are not confirmed. But if you have some lying around, you can apply some to see how it does. Perhaps if you own land or do farming, you have some to spare.
Build a millipede trap
Millipedes are attracted to dim lights, especially when the area is dark.
You can use this to your benefit by building a trap to catch them alive. Here’s how.
What you’ll need:
- A bowl or small food container
- A shovel
- Some water
- A pair of cutters
- A thin plastic bucket
- Battery-powered LED candle
- Some packing tape
Here’s how to make it:
- Go outdoors and find an area in your yard where millipedes are present.
- Dig a small hole with the shovel to allow the bowl/food container to fit. The edge of the container should be aligned with the soil surface. Pack the dirt around the edges firmly so it fits into the soil perfectly.
- Take the bucket and cut some parts out of the top lip. The point is to put the bucket upside down over the bowl/container and the cutouts allow the millipede to crawl under the bucket.
- Grab the LED candle and turn it on. Tape it to the center of the bucket so it hangs on the “roof” when the bucket is turned upside down.
- Fill the food container halfway up with water.
- Place the bucket upside down over the container.
How it works:
- At night, the millipedes seek out the warm light from the candle hanging upside down in the bucket.
- They go into the bucket through the cutouts you made.
- As soon as they go in, they fall into the bowl with water.
- They can’t get back out and drown.
- You only need to turn on the light at night.
- Check the trap daily for millipedes and wash them as necessary.
- You can get a solar-powered candle and cut a hole at the “roof” of the bucket so you don’t need batteries.
Turn off your night lights
You should turn off your home’s lights at night to avoid attracting millipedes.
You can use blackout blinds, curtains, or whatever else to shield the light from going outdoors. If you have porch lights, patio lights, or other pathway markers, consider turning them off or switching to yellow lights.
These lights repel bugs rather than attracting them. Porch lights also attract bugs like spiders and sawflies.
Get some chickens
Chickens naturally eat millipedes and a whole host of other common garden bugs.
They’ll forget your yard sand feast all day for bugs to keep your garden clean. This means basically a “free” workforce that works around the clock and checks under every leaf without you having to do anything.
Most municipalities allow chickens to be raised in the yard, but you’ll want to double-check that your city allows them. If they do, you should adopt a pair and raise them.
Not only do they eat up millipedes, but they’ll also hatch you some fresh eggs!
Lure natural predators that eat millipedes
There are a whole bunch of predators that eat millipedes. You’ll have to find out which ones live in your area and find out how to attract them.
There are far too many for me to list here and steps for attracting every single one of them.
Just scan through this list of common predators and pick out a few that you’ve seen in your yard. Do some research on how to get more of them, or buy them online.
This is another easy technique to get rid of millipedes naturally because you don’t have to do anything once you get a bunch of the predators eating up the bugs.
Here’s a list of the most common predators of millipedes:
- Domestic chickens (a personal favorite)
- Pond frogs
- Ground beetles
- Common pigeons
- Yard shrews
- Small animals
Note that some millipede species are venomous or have glands that produce toxic compounds to discourage any predators from eating them.
This is why you should NEVER handle them without protection or have your pets near them.
What chemical will kill millipedes?
If you need to resort to commercial pesticides, opt for one that’s natural or organic.
For an effective millipede killer that’s proven to work, look for these key formulations.
Check the product label and see if it contains:
Use the pesticide as directed. Each product will be different and you should follow whatever the label says.
How to get rid of millipedes in the house
For millipedes in your home, you can start with any combination of the methods we discussed above.
Start with using some kind of barrier repellent such as diatomaceous earth, boric acid, essential oils, etc.
Use this around the foundation of your home and inside each room where you notice or suspect millipedes to be active.
You can also build a bottle trap and place a few around the house where moisture levels and humidity is high. This can trap them passively with time.
Consider adding dehumidifiers in rooms where you can’t control the humidity. For all other rooms, practice habits that reduce the overall moisture content in the air.
The tips are listed above and you cause them for indoor millipede control in your home, apartment, etc. Most of them are also natural DIY home remedies.
Do these practices in combination with outdoor repellent and control for the best effect.
How to get rid of millipedes outside
To get rid of millipedes in the garden, you’ll want to start by focusing on just the soil.
These pests deposit their eggs in moist potting soil that’s often hidden from view.
Use wood ash to dehydrate the soil and keep it unappealing to millipedes. This will prevent them from laying eggs and disrupts their life cycle.
Next, practice good housekeeping habits in your yard. This means keeping it tidy, mowing the lawn, removing leaf clutter, and keeping the weeds trimmed. See the tips in the previous section.
You can also add natural predators to your yard by learning how to attract them. Badgers, toads, frogs, ants, snakes, beetles, and more all eat millipedes to varying degrees.
Chickens are considered the golden standard for outdoor pest control, as they’ll forage and eat up bugs all day for free.
Lastly, you’ll want to set up some outdoor repellents to keep them away. Use essential oils, boric acid, diatomaceous earth, essential oils, herbs, or plants that repel millipedes. A combination of different methods always works best.
Don’t depend on a single technique to get rid of them.
You can also set up some bottle traps, light traps, and use cayenne pepper spray.
All of this is covered in the previous section. Use outdoor control and indoor control at the same time. This will work best to get rid of millipedes in both places.
How to get rid of millipedes in potted plants
Millipedes can infest your potted plants because of the young seedlings or soil.
They eat younger leaflets and females will deposit eggs in moist soil. If your potted plants have either of these, it may be an attractant for millipedes.
You can control them by using wood ash to dry up the soil and diatomaceous earth to help repel them.
The DE will cut up any millipedes that crawl across it, so you can sprinkle it around the perimeter of the potted plant. This way, they have to walk across it.
This prevents any millipede from getting to your soil or plant without coming into contact with the DE first. You can also use essential oils, boric acid, or set up traps around your plants to lure them away.
See the section above for methods to get rid of millipedes on your indoor or outdoor potted plants permanently. There’s no single best technique.
How to get rid of millipedes in the basement
Basement dwelling millipedes are a common complaint from readers.
These bugs will crawl around in your dark basement because they’re attracted to the humidity trapped in there, or there’s food (plants or other bugs).
You can start by sealing up all possible entry points leading to your basement. Look for cracks in the foundation, basement vents that are broken, screens that need to be replaced, or other things like door gaps. Seal up all points or caulk them.
Next, remove any attractants you may have. If you have small pests in your basement, you’ll want to get rid of them also (you can check out some common basement pests here).
Set up some natural repellents like boric acid or essential oils. Build a few bottle traps and set them at key locations (around the perimeter of the basement room).
You can check out the full list of natural control methods above- lots of effective approaches can be used (cayenne pepper, DE, sulfuric acid, bleach, pesticide, neem oil, vinegar, baking soda, etc.).
Add a dehumidifier if the humidity is high. This is key to making the room less appealing to millipedes.
How to keep millipedes out of your house
This section will cover basic practices to help keep millipedes away from your home. It’s critical that you review this part of the guide as it covers a lot of commonly overlooked techniques you can do.
These easily make a difference not just to keep millipedes away, but many other pests from entering your house.
Maintain your garden
You can keep millipedes away and out of your house by doing basic maintenance around the home.
Think about it: if your garden is in tip-top shape and naturally repels them, why would they enter your house?
Prevention starts outdoors. This is the only way to actually stop them from entering your home, apartment, townhouse, condo, or whatever else you live in.
You can start by doing the things you should be doing like lawn care, pruning plants, and basically keeping everything outdoors tidy.
Keep your yard free of clutter to keep millipedes out
As mentioned earlier, be sure to regularly mow your lawn and trim down lengthy grass or weeds.
Remove all leaf clutter and debris lying about. Trees that constantly shed dead leaves should also be trimmed or pruned.
Basically, you want to NEVER have any leaves on your lawn. Tall grasses or weeds also make a perfect environment for millipedes to inhabit. This is why you need to keep them trimmed and tidy. Long grass, leaf piles, and over-fertilized or wet mulch can also attract these bugs.
Keep the grass short and clean. Remove all leaf clutter. Keep mulch away from your home’s foundation by at least 3 feet.
If you have rocks, boards, woodpiles, trash, compost, or boards, they make excellent shelters and hiding places for millipedes.
Remove them or rearrange them so that they’re not as cluttered.
Keeping your yard tidy is the key to stopping millipedes from entering your home and preventing them for good. This is probably what attracted them to your home in the first place!
Eliminate water sources
As mentioned earlier, millipedes need a water source to sustain themselves.
This is why you need to drain or eliminate any sources of water.
Rainwater, storm drains, gutters, downspouts, and anything else that collects or diverts water can be a millipede attractant. Keep your yard as dry as possible.
Do basic maintenance on your gutters and drains to make sure they drain properly and carry water away from your property. If your home is in a flood zone, this is specifically important to keep your property protected.
Also watch for water that’s been backed up in sump pumps, stuck in puddles, or caught on leaves or other clutter in your yard. Keep your yard dry at all times. And when you can’t, make sure it drains.
Secure your home
Blocking off your home from entry will prevent 99% of all pest problems.
Even if you have a major pest problem in your yard, keeping your home secure by sealing up any possible entry points will keep the bugs out.
This means checking around the home and sealing or caulking up cracks in the foundation, replacing weatherstripping, fixing damaged screens, or otherwise sealing up any small crevices that lead to your inner home.
Check for vent spaces, doorways, sidings, and more. Practicing this will help keep millipedes away and out of your house.
How to get rid of millipede smell
Millipedes will release a foul-smelling liquid when threatened by predators. If you try to handle one, corner one, or otherwise threaten one, it may release this liquid. It smells terrible and may also harm your skin.
This is why you should never handle one without protection.
Regardless, if a millipede released this liquid, chances are it’ll smell up the place. It’s not the millipede that smells- it’s the defensive substance excreted by their glands that produces this scent.
To clean it up and remove it, you can use either vinegar or an enzymatic cleaner.
Pure vinegar works in conjunction with water. Just pour a bit over the stained surface and scrub away.
Spritz some water on there to dilute the vinegar after a few minutes. Let the vinegar work on the scent first. Then spray water. The scrub vigorously.
Be careful on sensitive surfaces as vinegar may damage your household objects.
You can also use enzymatic cleaners. They’re made to remove odor and you can find them in the hate cleaning aisle. Use as directed.
Here are some additional resources you may find useful:
- Millipede – Wikipedia
- Millipede – Insect Identification
- Millipedes – Horticulture and Home Pest News
Did you get rid of the millipedes in your home?
By now, you should have everything you need to know to control, exterminate, and repel millipedes from your home and garden.
The key is to use a combination of these methods and see what works for YOU.
No two situations are alike.
And if none of them work, it may be time to consider hiring a professional exterminator.
If you have any questions, post a comment below. Or if you own this article useful, let me know also =].
Thanks for reading!
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.
12 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Millipedes Naturally (Fast and Easy!)”
Hy Anthony, I thank you so much for the great tipps you are giving! I will start to fight the insects tomorrow… I have never found such a great website about this problem. Thank you very much. Greetings from Switzerland
You’re very welcome! I’m stoked to hear that you found it to be (somewhat) useful- and hopefully you’re able to control those thousand-legged buggers.
If you need a second pair of eyes (virtually), don’t hesitate to ask.
Thanks again for your kind words! And stay safe!
Thank you so much! After pouring through numerous websites, I landed on yours and oh what a treasure trove of well organized information! I now feel well equipped to deal with my present annoying infestation in Canada and to prevent similar infestations in the future. It’s no fun to have wormlike creatures crawling through your kitchen, bathroom, living room and dining room—-so far! With Covid, pest control places are closed so one feels quite alone. I can hardly sleep with disgust and anxiety. I’m deeply grateful to you, Anthony, and wish you well in all that you do! Take care of yourself and mask up!
I tried peppermint essential oil all around my infested breezeway. They crawled right over it! 🤦♀️ I can’t use tea tree oil because of the pets. That’s my issue is I can’t use anything on the lawn because of our pets. Nothing works when your surrounded by woods and a river…BAAAAA!!!!!
Bleaching powder is not working for my motor pump room
I’m curious as to how many millipedes are “too many” for an indoor potted plant?! Everything I have read says it’s possible they can damage potted plants but doesn’t have any more detail. I think I may have an infestation of a Schefflera umbrella plant I purchased a few months ago. It started dying immediately when I brought it home but could not identify any pests and seemed to be watering correctly. I planned to take it outside to spray/treat it as a last resort and when I took the inner plastic pot out of the ceramic planter, the inside walls and bottom was COVERED in millipedes. At least 100 in just the empty planter alone (larger, 12-14” planter) and another 40-50 in the soil spilling through the drainage holes of the plastic pot- I can’t imagine how many I would find if I pulled it out of the pot and cleaned out the soil. That is my plan but any input would be appreciated!
Nice comprehensive blog, thank you
A dehumidifier isn’t the ultimate cure but it will dry out the offending area, help prevent mould spores from getting airborne and make things a little more habitable.
You have kept me from going Crazy.I am scared of Worms,Then we Started getting Milipedes I was ready to Leave Thank you for Letting me Know How to get Rid of them. Peppermint Oil in House and all the rest In A Patio Garden. You are A Blessing I Had Giving Up ,And if One Got in Bed With Me I would Have A Heart-attack Thank you Anthony Soon Polly Taylor
I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re amazing! Thanks!
thank you! Very comprehensive and informative.
I have little black worms crawling out of the cement walls of my garage, they curl up and die on the floor……how do I get rid of them?…….need your help please.