Distinguished by their numerous legs and cylindrical, brownish-black body segments, millipedes thrive in moist, poorly lit environments containing organic matter. Although millipedes generally infest compost piles, mulch and soil, they occasionally stray into home basements searching for damp, moist habitats to escape dry outdoor weather. Some homeowners dislike millipedes in basements, even though these tiny arthropods are virtually harmless. Millipedes don't transmit diseases, sting or bite, nor do these arthropods infest textiles or dry masonry. Nonetheless, millipede invasions are quite unappealing in basements, and management is often necessary for large infestations.
Things You'll Need
- Vacuum cleaner
Eliminate the millipedes' hiding places in the basement. Remove any unnecessary boxes and other clutter from the basement to expose existing millipedes and discourage future millipedes.
Kill any exposed millipedes using a vacuum cleaner. Extract as many millipedes from the basement as possible.
Place a couple dehumidifiers around the basement to lower the moisture level. Dry environments discourage millipedes, as they cannot survive without moisture.
Rake any grass clippings, leaves, mulch or decaying vegetation away from your home's exterior foundation walls to keep millipedes away from your home and ultimately basement.
Seal any gaps or crevices in the exterior foundation walls, such as around the basement windows and doors, with caulking to prevent future millipedes from entering the basement. Apply the caulking as instructed by the specific caulking manufacturer. Let the caulking thoroughly air-dry.
Tips & Warnings
- Lay sticky traps around the basement to kill wandering millipedes.
- Avoid using insecticides to control millipedes; insecticides can permeate storm water and sewer drains, causing heath hazards to aquatic invertebrates.
- University of California Integrated Pest Management; Millipedes and Centipedes; March 2000
- University of Minnesota Extension; Sowbugs, Millipedes, and Centipedes in the Home; Jeffrey Hahn and Mark E. Ascerno; 2009
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension; Controlling Millipedes In And Around Homes; Michael Waldvogel; September 2005
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