- Common North American species are brownish
- Commonly 2.5 to 4 cm long, but can be up to 115 mm in length
- Two pair of legs per segment.
- They are nocturnal, so they stay hidden during the daytime when the sun is shining.
Where do they live?
Millipedes typically live outside in damp areas. Near homes they can often be found in flowerbeds and gardens. They can also be found under mulch, piles of dead leaves or under piles of grass clippings. Wherever the soil is damp, millipedes thrive. Under dog houses, storage sheds and other similar structures, millipedes enjoy living. In a nice lawn, they can live in between the grass and the soil.
What do millipedes eat?
- Dead leaves
- Decaying wood particles
- Millipedes will attack living plants if their habitats begin to dry up. Soft roots and green leaves can provide them with moisture.
- Millipedes will shed their skin several times, after each molt, they eat the shed skin. It is believed this is to replenish much needed calcium.
- Small insects
Millipedes frequently migrate in the fall. They leave their regular habitat and, as suspected by scientists, try and get ready for winter. They have also been seen migrating after heavy rain has most likely flooded their habitat. It is during these times of migration that millipedes often discover their way into your home.
After finding their way to a home they usually gather on patios and porches. They ascend the foundation of the home and get into entryways. They come in through the doors and windows of the basement and can also enter through crawlspace vents and garage doors. They might conceal themselves under furniture or storage boxes. Millipedes can be very active since basements are dark and are normally left undisturbed.
Crawlspaces are an ideal and safe place for millipedes to live. They can feed off of the dead leaves that are blown into the crawlspace or pieces of damp decaying wood. Many times there are pieces of lumber on the ground or storage boxes.
Eventually millipedes make their way into the living space of a home and they do so often in great numbers. They enter the home through doors that are missing weather stripping or they simply come up from the crawlspace that they already had entered.
Millipedes reach sexual maturity in the second year of their life and they can live several years beyond that. They deposit eggs into the soil.
Signs of a Millipede Infestation
There aren’t many signs of an infestation other than simply sighting them.
If urgent, millipedes can be removed from the walls or floors with a vacuum cleaner. If the situation gets really bad you should call for assistance.
Millipede Infestation Prevention
Steps to protecting your home against millipedes:
- Make your flowerbeds less attractive to millipedes, remove excess mulch.
- Use a rake to pull the remaining mulch away from the foundation.
- Make a gap of six inches or more, if possible, between the mulch and the foundation.
- Be sure there are no piles of dead leaves or grass clippings near the foundation.
- Ensure that the crawl space vents are properly screened. Check the access door to the crawl space to be sure it closes tightly.
- Check the weather stripping on all the exterior doors.
- Go outside and look at your doors at night, if you can see light shining under a door, millipedes can possibly enter under it.
- Make sure basement doors and windows have screens.
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