Millipedes are common garden scavengers, feeding on decaying leaves and plant litter. Also known as “thousand-leggers," they spend most of their lives hidden in soil and damp places. When their numbers build, millipedes may feed on living plants, too. Newly sprouted seedlings and ground-hugging fruits, such as strawberries, are targets. In fall, large numbers of millipedes often gather near building foundations. They sometimes enter homes through cracks and crevices, but they generally die within a few days inside.
Identification: Tough-shelled, worm-like millipede bodies consist of multiple rounded segments, with two pairs of short legs each. Common millipedes grow 1/2 to 2 inches long, adding segments and legs as they mature, but some species exceed 6 1/2 inches. Millipedes are typically brown, move slowly, and curl up when disturbed. In contrast, centipedes have one pair of long legs per segment and sprint away when bothered.
Signs/Damage: Millipede activity occurs at night in areas with their favored food source: decaying organic matter. During daytime hours, check for millipedes in damp areas around your home's perimeter, including garden mulch, fallen leaves and other garden debris.
Control: Effective millipede control includes removing garden debris, sealing cracks and crevices in your foundation, and creating a protective perimeter around your home. GardenTech® brand offers highly effective options to kill millipedes by contact and keep protecting for up to three months:
- Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Spray, attaches to a regular garden hose and measures and mixes as you spray. This non-staining formula treats lawns, soil, foundation plantings and your home's foundation up to a maximum height of 3 feet.
- Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate, used with a pump-style sprayer, comes with a measuring cap to simplify mixing just the right amount. This non-staining formula treats your home's foundation, up to a maximum height of 3 feet, as well as lawn and garden areas.
- Sevin® Insect Killer Granules reach millipedes above and below the soil line. Apply the granules with a regular lawn spreader to create a band of protection around your home's perimeter or treat your entire lawn. Water immediately after application to release the active ingredients.
Tip: Repair foundation cracks or crevices to prevent millipedes from coming indoors. Keep foundation areas free of plant debris and fallen leaves, and correct drainage problems that created the damp, protected spots millipedes enjoy.
Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully.
GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.
Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.