Millipedes are mostly harmless creatures that benefit the environment by feeding on decomposing organic matter. So, why then are millipedes considered pests? In normal situations, millipedes mind their own business and remain outdoors, living mostly in leaf litter or decaying wood. If the weather outside gets particularly hot and dry, however, millipedes may start moving indoors in large numbers. Once indoors, they can cause anxiety and become real nuisances.
Another reason that millipedes can become pests is if they start invading gardens and fields. In large numbers millipedes may harm crops, especially things like melons, strawberries, and tomatoes. Commercial farmers may not notice their impact, but in small gardens, a large infestation can be devastating.
Millipedes can also become a real pain. When a millipede is threatened, it will likely just curl into a tight ball, but some species of millipedes will secrete a smelly yellow liquid that causes irritation to eyes and will stain clothing and skin. While not particularly common, you still don’t want to be on the receiving end of these secretions.
There are a number of ways you can help prevent millipedes that involve exclusion, reduction of harborages, and chemical management. Try these tips and tricks to keep them away from your home and garden:
- Seal the exterior cracks and gaps around your home
- Add weatherstripping to windows and doors
- Clean up leaf litter and other debris from your yard
- Keep your lawn, plants, and shrubs trimmed
- Keep compost piles away from your house
- Get rid of excess moisture by fixing leaky pipes and cleaning out gutters
- Limit mulch and other vegetation that may retain large amounts of moisture
- Use a residual pesticide to create a perimeter around your home
Harris products can help control millipedes if they become a problem. Harris Crawling Insect Killer can be used indoors or outdoors and works great for gardens. Another excellent choice is Harris Home Pest Control, which helps to control millipedes and many other types of household pests.
For more information, check out Centipedes and Millipedes: The Ultimate Guide.