If you are a seasonal homeowner in Southwest Florida you have likely encountered slender worm- like “creepy crawlers” called millipedes in your home.
Millipedes are beneficial as “recyclers” as they break down decaying organic matters. Millipedes are not harmful, cannot bite or sting and they do not attack people, property, processions or pets. They are simply nuisance pests.
The millipede is a myriapod invertebrate with an elongated body composed of many segments, most with two pairs of legs. In other words, creepy crawlers! Most are herbivorous and shun light, living in the soil, stones or mulch. When you try to pick them up, they will curl into a tight ball, they do not bite but do emit a smelly fluid that may irritate your eyes or skin. Millipedes find their way into your home primarily due to excess rain and wet conditions and even during drier seasons trying to find water.
How to control Millipedes
- Seal any openings or cracks in your home’s foundation, openings around entry doors, underneath your garage door, pipes and electrical outlets, expansion joints in concrete near your patio doors and other exterior opening.
- Use a door brush at the bottom of all exterior doors and the garage door.
- Repair any leaks in your home.
- Eliminate or minimize water sources.
- Use a dehumidifier to help keep the air dry in your home and use room or ceiling fans to improve air circulation.
- Make sure your gutters are clean, that downspouts are used to direct water flow away from the home foundation.
- Keep your lawn clean by removing dead plant matter, leaves, grass clippings, rotting wood, and mulch.
Chemical control insecticides along baseboards and other interior living areas DO NOT really stop millipedes although application of insecticide outside the home MAY help to reduce inward invasions. Spraying mulch is not very effective because the insecticide is absorbed into the mulch. If spraying mulch be sure to rake back the mulch and spray underneath the mulch. As with most insecticides keep children and pets away from treated areas until completely dry. Make sure you avoid insecticides drifting and contaminating toys, swimming pools, and other objects such as an outdoor kitchen area or bar-b-que grills.
Other Helpful Tips for controlling millipedes
1) Tea tree oil and peppermint oil are the two most common oils for use against millipedes. Essential oils should be diluted with water and sprayed around entry points like windowsills, door gaps, vents, foundations cracks. You find these oils at Walmart, Target and most grocery stores in the health and vitamin section.
2) Spread diatomaceous earth or boric acid in the soil around your yard. You can obtain either of these powders from garden centers and sprinkle it on the soil.
3) Bright lights fend off millipedes; you may want to use a light trap away from the house.
4) Once the cooler weather hits they will become dormant and will come back in the Spring.
Carefree Home Watch provides professional home watch serves for residents of Fort Myers, Florida and select nearby communities. Call 239-234-1847 or visit carefreehomewatch.com and request a complimentary home assessment. We provide exceptional care when you’re not there™.