By Samantha Horn
Howard County Extension Agent- Agriculture
I have been getting questions about how to control the millipede and keep them from coming into people’s homes. The millipedes are easily confused with centipedes; however, a millipede has two sets of legs where the centipede only has one set of legs per body segment. Millipedes can be identified as being black or brown in color having a rounded body. They do not have poison claws or legs and if bothered will normally curl up.
Millipedes will usually be found in a moist area feeding on organic matter. Millipedes become a nuisance when they start getting inside people’s homes. They are usually found in the lower level of a home or basement. After millipedes have made it inside your home their life span is usually short lived unless it is a basement that holds moister. Millipedes thrive in areas outside your home that include decaying organic matter. They will also attack roots and leaves of seedling plants as well. Over-mulching and over-watering can also attract millipedes to your yard. One of the reasons we are seeing them now is due to the large amount of rainfall we have seen over the past couple of weeks. Ways to help control the millipedes are to remove as much organic matter as possible and to not over-mulch or over-water your garden. You can also treat outside within a 10-to-15-foot strip around your house perimeter with an insecticide. It is also important to remember if you have a basement to treat around those outer walls as well. When treating around the house you will need to also include window frames and door sills. Common over the counter pyrethroid insecticides include active ingredients such as bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, pyrethrin, resmethrin, or tralomethrin. These are fast acting control options for millipedes. When considering outdoor pets, both people and pets need to remain off any product that has been put out until completing dry. If you decide to treat inside be sure it is labeled for indoor use and to treat areas such as baseboards, cracks, crevices and moist cool dark places. However, the safest option for removal of millipedes indoors is to use a vacuum or broom to remove them from inside the home.
For more information on the stinky millipede and how to control them you can contact the Howard County Extension office at 845-7517.