Just curious, we were plagued the past couple of years with millipedes (or...

Asked July 12, 2015, 5:35 PM EDT

Just curious, we were plagued the past couple of years with millipedes (or maybe centipedes), and this year I haven't seen any, and wondering why?

Scioto County Ohio

1 Response


Yes with all the moisture they have been bad the past 2 or 3 years. Really removing access moisture which has been bad with all the rain and removing any organic matter that they feed on which is hard when one lives near a woods or has a large yard.

Millipedes are common occasional pests that sometimes invade buildings, particularly when the weather turns hot and dry. While millipedes sometimes enter in large numbers, they do not bite, sting, or transmit diseases, nor do they infest food, clothing or dry, structurally sound wood. Millipedes vary in both color and size. The most common species that invades buildings is the “garden millipede”, which is brownish-black in color and about one inch long. Although millipedes are often called “thousandleggers”, they actually have far fewer legs, but each body segment has two pairs of very short legs. When disturbed, millipedes often curl up into a “C” shape and remain motionless. They crawl slowly and protect themselves by secreting a cyanide-like compound that has an unpleasant odor.

No one entirely understands why this mass “migration” takes place. It has been speculated that millipede stampedes may be in association with mating behavior, or in response to drought or flooding. Fortunately, such mass migrations are short-lived and those that wander into homes will dry out and quickly die becoming easy fodder for vacuum cleaners.

OSUE Fact Sheet HYG-2067A-10, (available on ohioline.edu.osu), states that total control of millipedes during migration periods is difficult, but several insecticides are registered for “perimeter” treatments. The concept is to apply a barrier of insecticide that will either repel or kill the millipedes that try to cross the barriers. Both liquid sprays and granular formulations are available at most garden centers. These products should list millipedes on the label as not all insecticides are able to control these non-insect arthropods. Please be sure to read and follow all label directions carefully!