Your Complete Guide to Getting Rid of Millipedes

Get rid of millipedes by using an insect killer or an eco-safe method. To further prevent an infestation, keep your home dry and seal any foundational cracks.
Written by Shannon Martin
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Millipedes love damp conditions. To prevent these creepy crawlers from getting into your home, don't overwater your lawn, keep your basement dry, and seal any cracks in your foundation wall. If you have already millipedes in your home, you can get rid of them with insect killer or by using an environmentally friendly alternative, like diatomaceous earth or cayenne pepper. 
Millipedes are worm-like insects that are around 2 inches long and can have anywhere between 80-400 little legs. While they look nightmarish, these little creatures are harmless and considered "good bugs". Their main goal is to eat up decaying matter and enrich the soil. However, if your garden gets overrun with them, they can start to eat soft-root plants like strawberries. 
There are several ways to get millipedes out of your home and yard, and we have the best methods here for you!
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Seven ways to get rid of Millipedes

Millipedes have several exceptional qualities, they don't bite or sting and are great for Mother Earth. Other positive attributes are that they don't want to be in your home, they can not reproduce inside your home, and once they are indoors, they have a very short life span. So they are not as big of a concern as other insects. 

How to get rid of millipedes in your home 

Eliminating millipedes is one of the more simple DIY exterminations. Here are some tried and true remedies:
  1. Diatomaceous Earth (DE): DE is a miracle powder that some say has health benefits for humans (when bought in food-grade quality) but will also kill just about any pest in the house. Just sprinkle some DE powder where the millipedes congregate, like under sinks, basements, and door gaps. The crystals in the powder will cause the millipedes to dehydrate and die in just a few days. This food-grade product is child and pet safe.
  2. Boric Acid: Boric Acid is a natural mineral however, this one is toxic. You will want to sprinkle it wherever you see millepeds and in your home's dark, damp zones. This product also causes pests to dehydrate and die in a few days. Warning: do not use this where children or pets can get to it!
  3. Vacuum or broom: This is by far the easiest method of elimination if you only have a few millipedes to get rid of. They are slow and don't sting, so a quick vacuum or sweep-up can do the trick. Once you collect them, just toss them in your grass or garden. Whatever you do, don't step on them! If squished, they will produce a stinky odor you don't want in your home. 
  4. Set a trap: Millipede traps are easy and safe to make for those who like to MeGyver their way out of situations or if you want to get your kids in on the action. First, put a piece of fruit in a clear plastic bottle. Then get a 6" piece of clear tubing, slide 2" into the bottle, and seal around the tube and bottle with some tape, leaving 4" of the tube hanging out. Then lay the bottle traps where millipedes are, and they will make their way in and get stuck.
  5. Cayenne Pepper: While cayenne pepper won't kill the millipedes, it will deter them from entering your home. You can buy cayenne power in bulk and sprinkle it around your foundation and exterior doorways. Warning: Cayenne is not toxic to children or pets but can cause skin irritation; use with caution
  6. Tea Tree and Peppermint Essential Oils: Another option for preventative treatment is a simple two-step process. First, fill a spray bottle with 12oz of water and 15 drops of oil, then spray around doorways, windows, and your foundation. Then soak a few cotton balls in the mixture and leave them under the sink and in cabinets. Warning: Essential oils can be toxic to children and pets in high doses, use with caution.
  7. When all else fails, you can use a broad-spectrum insecticide for indoor or outdoor extermination. There are several options on the market, some less toxic than others. 
MORE: How to get rid of household bugs

How an exterminator gets rid of millipedes—and when to call them 

You should be able to handle millipede elimination independently, but if you have an overwhelming infestation, you can call an exterminator. 
Exterminators will inspect your home, remove the pests, and then set up a prevention plan. Believe it or not, the first weapon in their arsenal will be a shop vac!
They will spay the home's interior in moister-prone areas with an insecticide. If you have pets, children, or any concerns about the toxicity of the spray, let them know. Most companies have a variety of options. 
The price can vary depending on location, however, be prepared to pay up to $600 for this type of work. 

How to tell if you’ve got a millipede problem

Millipedes usually only come into your home if the outside is too dry or too flooded for them to live comfortably. Since they are nocturnal, it may take a while before you even notice they are around. 

Why should you worry about millipedes?

To be honest, you don't have to! Unlike centipedes, which they are commonly confused with, they don't bite or sting. They also don't carry disease or cause damage to your home. However, they can release a stinky liquid that can irritate your skin or eyes if you handle them. Aside from that, people just don't want ugly worms in their homes, and I don't blame them! 

What attracts millipedes to your home 

While millipedes are attracted to dark and humid locations, most wander into homes accidentally when their habitat no longer sustains them. Their preferred local is the grass, garden, or moist mud around the home's foundation. Once inside, they are found in wet basements and near leaky windows and water pipes.
FUN FACT: Based on a 428 million-year-old fossil found in Scottland, millipedes are considered the first air-breathing animal. Those hundreds of legs helped it out of the water and onto land before anyone else! 

10 ways to prevent a millipede infestation

Bugs tend to become more troublesome in the spring and summer months. Luckily, maintaining a spring cleaning routine will prevent a millipede infestation from happening in the first place. 

How to keep millipedes out of your home

Here are some sure-fire tips to keep our leggy friends outside where they belong:
  1. Repair leaky faucets and air conditioning units 
  2. Keep your basement and crawl spaces dry
  3. Avoid overwatering your lawn
  4. Avoid over-fertilizing your lawn
  5. Move mulch and wet leaves away from your foundation
  6. Seal cracks in your foundation and basement walls and floor
  7. Add door sweeps to exterior doors
  8. Keep gutters clear of debris
  9. Secure trash and compost
  10. Spray the interior and exterior of your home with essential oils or insecticide
MORE: How to keep earwigs out of your house

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Hopefully, these tips will help you eliminate any pesky millipedes that may have walked your way. Of course, no one wants to pay for an exterminator if they can help it, but if you did, don't worry—you can get back some of the money you lost by downloading the
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Yes! It is better for your pocketbook and the environment to use natural methods for millipede elimination. For example, you can vacuum them up and sprinkle cayenne pepper around the windows and exterior doors to prevent them from returning.
Not at all! Unlike most bugs, millipedes don't bite, sting, damage the home's structure, or carry diseases. The most they can do is irritate your skin or eyes if you touch them with your hands.
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