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Ask The Entomologist Question about millipedes

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Question:
Every Spring, we have a milipede invasion. They are about an inch long. We live in North Houston, Texas. How do we prevent them from entering the home?; ie: eliminate them Thanks.

Answer:
Millipedes can be a pain! At certain times of the year when conditions are right they will explode their populations and invade homes. They like moist environments so once they come inside they usually dry up and die. Still, it’s not fun coming home to a bunch of dead millipedes curled up on the floor. Some things you can do to help reduce the number of millipedes around your home are:

• Do not use excessive amounts of pine straw or mulch around your home. These materials hold in lots of moisture underneath them (which is what they are supposed to do) and creates ideal breeding habitats for millipedes. Plus, when your house is treated the pesticides stay on top of these materials and will not get to the millipedes living underneath. If you can reduce, or eliminate, these materials from around the foundation of your home it would help. The same with any accumulated organic debris such as leaves, hay, grass clippings, etc.
• Make the outside of your home as dry as possible (without killing your grass and other plants). If you have drip irrigation or lawn sprinklers, reduce the watering times around the foundation of your home and make sure sprinkler heads are not spraying water on or next to the foundation. Correct any kind of drainage problems such as water pooling next to the foundation and make sure the gutters are not clogged and are working properly to direct water away from the house.
• Keep the grass cut and bushes trimmed away from the house.
Anything you can do to cut down on the moisture levels around the outside of the home will help. You can also have the outside treated by a reputable pest company like Terminix. Treating around the outside foundation and entry points with a residual insecticide will help deter the millipedes from coming inside. If you do not have a pest service, you can call 1-800-Terminix for a free inspection and treatment estimate.