Millipedes, Millipede Pest Control
Millipedes and Millipede Control
- 1 Millipedes and Millipede Control
- 2 How to Kill House Centipedes
- 3 What Is That Thing in My House?
- 4 How to Kill House Centipedes
- 5 House Centipedes!
- 6 Where Do House Centipedes Come From?
- 7 Why Are House Centipedes in Your Home?
- 8 How Many House Centipedes Are There?
- 9 How To Kill House Centipedes!
- 10 Questions & Answers
- 11 Related
- 11.1 Living in Hawaii: How to Survive the Big Centipedes
- 11.2 How to Identify and Deal With Basement Bugs
- 11.3 How to Get Rid of Leaf Miners
- 11.4 How to Install Stone Veneer on the Front of Your House
- 11.5 Home Remedies to Keep Cockroaches, Lizards, Ants, Mosquitoes, Bed Bugs, and Flies Out of Your House
- 12 Popular
- 13 House Centipede Comments!
- 14 The Entomologist Lounge
- 15 Welcome to the lounge, where entomologists and insect enthusiasts can relax, grab a cup and put on a nice music. Step out of your day job, and step into your zone, where you reconnect with your passion for insects and enrich yourself with more knowledge.
- 16 Insect Hotels: A Refuge or a Fad?
General Millipede information
Millipedes are oval, 1-1/2 inches long, segmented with many legs, coiling up when resting or dead. Every millipede has two pairs of legs attached to each apparent body segment. Most millipedes are brown or black, but some species are orange or red. Their diet consists of damp and decaying wood and plant materials. They may invade the house during extremely wet seasons.
Photo by Jared Belson
- Millipedes are found outdoors in situations where there is moisture and decaying organic matter, such as under trash, grass clippings, mulch, rotting firewood, leaf litter, etc.
- Their diet consists of damp and decaying wood and plant materials. They scavenge feeding on decaying organic matter.
- They invade the house during extremely wet seasons or extreme drought.
- Millipedes usually die within a few days of entering a structure unless there is a source of high moisture and a food supply.
- Millipedes are active at night.
Recommended Measures of Control of Millipedes
Non Chemical Measures
- Millipede control begins outdoors by removing harbor aging places that hold moisture, such as wood debris, rocks, grass clippings, and leaf litter.
- Firewood should be stored off the ground.
- Lawns should be watered in the morning to promote drying by the afternoon.
- Flower beds should not be over mulched.
- Entry into building should be prevented by sealing and caul king gaps around siding, windows, doors, pipes, wires, etc.
- Large numbers of these structure-invading pests are easily controlled by vacuuming and discarding the collected material.
Any of the pyrethroids work but getting the insecticide to the millipedes is the challenge. Centipedes are a bit easier as they don’t go as deep in the soil. Even with centipedes you may have to pull the mulch back from the foundation to expose the dirt.
- A good residual such as LambdaStar Ultra Cap 9.7 sprayed along entry points, cracks and crevices, baseboards is important. Even more important would be a good residual sprayed on the outside, in particular on the exterior walls that they are entering the home. During periods of heavy migration of millipedes, you will most likey have to repeat treatment.
- Granular products like Bifen LP Granules can be applied to mulched flower beds and heavily thatched turf areas where millipedes may be living. Be sure to treat these areas during periods when millipedes are found inside the home in large numbers. Repeated applications may be necessary to maintain control during periods of heavy millipede migration. The Bifen LP granules would be an additional treatment around the house to serve as a barrier. The advantage of granule treatments in addition to liquid residual barriers is that they hold up under rainfall. Repeat treatments of granules every 3 months
- LambdaStar UltraCap 9.7 or Cyper WSP work well, sprayed 3 feet out, along the foundation and 3 ft. up the exterior wall as well as sprayed around the entry points, like doors and windows. LambdaStar Ultra Cap 9.7 does not leave a visible residue, Cyper WSP, as a wettable powder does leave a visible residue, which is noticible against darker surfaces.
- Repeat treatments of these suggested liquid residual insecticides every 3 months or as needed.
How to Kill House Centipedes
What Is That Thing in My House?
Do you know what that alien thing is at the top of this page? If you’ve never seen it, then you will probably never know what it is. If you have seen it, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s what’s known as a house centipede, or Scutigera coleoptrata in the animal world.
To many people, this thing can be the bane of their existence! Many people are taken aback when they see it. The first thing out of their mouths is: «What the heck is that?» And rightfully so, because it does look alien in origin! However, it’s definitely from this world, and I will provide you with some very valuable information about it.
If you want to know how to kill house centipedes, please keep reading!
How to Kill House Centipedes
How do you kill them completely? Well, there are a couple of ways to do this. Trying to squish each and every one you encounter won’t work because:
- They hunt at night because their eyes are sensitive to light. You’re probably encountering maybe one in a few hundred every time you see one!
- There are just too many of them! With the average female house centipede laying between 60 and 150 eggs at a time, you’ll never be able to keep up!
Three Options to Kill House Centipedes
- Hire an Exterminator. This will probably be your best bet. An exterminator can kill the house centipede and the insect infestation that they are chasing after. One of the drawbacks to an exterminator is even they will tell you that it’s going to take more than one visit to completely kill them all! That’s going to cost you more money. Another drawback is most of us don’t like the idea of someone spraying chemicals around the same house where our family lives. It’s where our children play and sleep!
- Try Boric Acid. Boric acid has been the insecticide of choice for generations. It’s that white powder that you saw along the woodwork in your Grandma’s basement! Boric acid works on two levels. It acts as a stomach poison if the insect ingests it, and it is abrasive to their exoskeleton if they touch it!
- Dehumidifier. Another unconventional method is to use a dehumidifier. How does it work? Since the house centipede likes to hang out with moisture and high humidity, you can use a dehumidifier to dry up the moisture and humidity! This will make their stay in your home unpleasant. This method might not work completely, but it will slow them down.
Insects are smart, and they will always find a way to get to their food. Just like I said earlier, the house centipede has been seen in every room in the house!
Where Do House Centipedes Come From?
House centipedes originated in the Mediterranean region of the world. The earliest reported sighting in the United States was in 1849 when they were most likely transported here by some cargo ship. When you encounter a house centipede today, it will most likely be in the basement of your home.
These insects like to dwell in damp, humid environments. This is the best place for them because this environment protects them from the cold and dehydration. They breathe through small openings called spiracles, so a damp environment provides a steady stream of oxygen for them. Although you will most likely encounter them in the basement, they have been found all over the home: bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. They’ve even been known to be in the bed with people while they sleep! Whatever room you can think of, the house centipede can found in it.
- They run quickly and can climb walls as well as ceilings. As you can see, house centipedes can be quite bothersome if they are allowed to get out of hand.
Why Are House Centipedes in Your Home?
Contrary to popular belief, house centipedes are not to be kept as pets. There are some people out there who decide to keep them as pets. House centipedes have a real purpose and reason as to why they are in your home, and you won’t like it when I tell you what it is.
House centipedes are one of the predators of the insect world. They are what is known as insectivores, meaning that they hunt and kill other insects. If you have seen the centipedes in your home, it means your home has the right conditions for house centipedes to hunt. You have an insect infestation somewhere in your home!
They are not in your home to be pets, and they are not in your home to live because they have nowhere else to go. They are there to hunt! House centipedes eat spiders, bedbugs, silverfish, termites, roaches, cockroaches, ants, and whatever insect that they can get their 15 pairs of long legs on.
- Did you notice anything about the list of bugs from above? Yes, these are the same bugs that plague your home if you’re not careful! The house centipedes eat all of them.
- They are not harmful to humans. A sting from a house centipede is not uncommon. It leaves behind some swelling and redness, but it is not altogether dangerous to people.
There are some among us that proclaim that because of the above facts, we should leave them alone. I don’t agree with this. I’ve met none of these people in real life, and I’m pretty sure that if they woke up with a house centipede over their bed, or on their pillow inches away from their nose, that they would change their tune.
These things are insects, and, if left unchecked, they can be an infestation themselves! Instead of justifying why I should allow them to stay in my house, I’d rather kill them! I’d rather kill them and the insect infestation that they’re after!
How Many House Centipedes Are There?
That is a great question. The answer is this: No one knows for sure. No one knows for sure how many house centipedes are in your home. But let’s try to guess.
- The house centipede has a lifespan of about 3 to 7 years of age.
- The females begin to lay eggs at around the age of 3.
- The average female house centipede can lay between 60 to 150 eggs at a time.
- You do the math!
If you always see these things, then it’s a safe bet that they have been in your home for some time now. You’ll most likely notice them at two different times of the year: spring and fall.
- They come out in the spring because of the warmer weather.
- During the fall, they seek shelter in our homes because of the cooler weather.
- Coincidentally, the spring is also when the rest of the insect world decides to wake up from their winter slumber.
How To Kill House Centipedes!
Have You Seen House Centipedes In Your Home?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
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House Centipede Comments!
How to get rid of apt centipedes
Centipedes kill termites, moths, flies, and roaches. Leave your house centipedes alone
OM. These are so creepy. Don’t believe they can’t bite you. They not only bit me, but it left bumps like I never saw. Bedbugs got nothing on them. That being said, running to the bathroom about 2 am and heard this sound like scratches on my wooden floor. I looked down only to see one speeding my way. I was in the light on the toilet. Out of sheer panic I crushed it. It was either me or him. My Mama said. “YOU CANT BE SCARED OF WHERE YOU LIVE” Kill it & rest. JF
My house centipedes are rarely seen, but when they are, I welcome them. They must like moist places, because there was one in my bathtub that disappeared later into the drain or vent, I don’t know which. The thing is, I left it there because it was nocturnal, only there first thing in the morning or at night, and disappeared on it’s own if I left it alone.
Here’s an interesting thing I found out about them: In this same bathtub in the mornings I would find a dead fly, flat as a pancake, all it’s juices sucked out. If I left the door to the bathroom open, any fly in the house would end up flat in this bathtub. My conclusion: this house centipede somehow excreted something that attracted a fly, it’s prey. It waited till the fly landed and then attacked it. Because of this I had an automatic fly trap and after one night, any fly in the house was dead.
Since then, I saw a house centipede in my family room. I had several spiders in there, which I didn’t like. They disappeared and I haven’t seen another in that room since.
I always, when I see one, verbally welcome it, say «hi!» and leave it alone.
Ok, I was creeped out before, now I’m COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL where these «things» are concerened. We live in a wooded area and I wake up EVERY morning to find ONE or MORE in my greatroom when I turn on the lights. Let me tell you, these things are SMART, they run and drop off the wall and run even faster to get away from me, YUCK. I have vacumed up COUNTLESS numbers of them. Thanks for the info we are on a mision to rid our house of EVERY insect. NOW!
I was biten by this insect in the back of my ears when i was sleeping. i was freaking out coz dont know if this thing is dangerous or thingking what will happen
to me.i didn’t get back to sleep searching for this insect in the internet if this insect had a side effect on my body.i have two kids and im worried for them.
6 years ago from near the Equator
Nice hub. But centipedes eat cockroach eggs and lots of other nasty stuff, so I let them be.
Fear controls you
These things are 100% harmless to humans. In most cases they don’t even have the strength to break human skin with a bite. House centipedes are the KINGS of the insect world and destroy all other insects (i.e. spiders, some of which ARE actually quite a problem).. On top of that, they have a lifespan from 5-7 years, so when you kill them you’re actually robbing it of quite a bit of life (which I think most of us do enjoy!)
Just remember, it’s far more scared of you than you of it. Hence it’s ‘Run Away!’ tactic (which admittedly freaks most people out because they are quite the quick movers).
our family has them to they r nasty we squash as many as we can try to keep no spiders webs around so there is less food source we too also have silver fish which are equals as gross maybe It’s just cause we have an older house or heck maybe It’s just Iowa LOL
Wow, that’s really creepy. But, I see Silver Fish once a year and their pretty big (which their not suppose to be) and they might be centipedes and. what’s worse is that they have more than six legs.
You could also use Diatomecious earth, DE is completely harmless to humans, and animals but destroys insects completely. DE is comprised of microscopic Diatoms that harden and form shards when they die, these microscopic shards carve insects open and leave them very vulnerable to dehydration. Any arthropod and even some slugs cannot survive crawling through DE. DE in food grade can be consumed to kill internal parasites as well.
7 years ago from Pennsauken,NJ
If it seems like nothing is working then you have to do something that I alluded to before. If nothing is working then you have to give the house centipedes a reason to leave your home. GET RID OF THEIR FOOD! The only reason they are in your home is because you have a hidden insect problem. Spray for whatever insects you might see that are NOT house centipedes. They eat everything so it doesn’t matter. Spiders, ants, roaches, crickets, etc. Get rid of the insects and you get rid of them.
My wife woke up the other night because one was crawling on her leg. She has been freaking out ever since. The bed is pulled away from the wall, she wakes up in a fit if she thinks something has touched her, and has become an insomniac. We have done all the usual remedies for years. sealing up openings, white powder, humidity control. Nothing has worked so far. Anybody have any new ideas?
7 years ago from Pennsauken,NJ
Ok. im not going to scold u about your spelling because I’m not your 3rd grade teacher. But thanx for the love anyway!
Omg this is really great. All this information let’s me now a lot about these ugly scary itchy creepy crawling dirty disgusting creatures! 2 dumbs up !!
7 years ago from Pennsauken,NJ
They might not bite you, but they do get a little too close for comfort, don’t they?
Haha great article and video. Laying in bed right now after killing two centipedes. Reason: I saw one running away from my PILLOW when I lifted my HEAD. Yuck!!
While the article is somewhat right, I don’t entirely agree. These things showed up in my home, from out of nowhere, a number of years ago; and yes, when I first saw them they FREAKED ME OUT big time. I was on a mission to stomp and squish every last one of them. But after reading up about them, I became one of those people who leaves them alone. I wouldn’t go so far as saying «keep them as pets» but if I see them I don’t kill them.
Don’t let UNFOUNDED FEAR dictate your actions: the only reason we want to squish them is became they are indeed the poster children for «creepy crawlies» and they’re FAST. But after I got a hold of myself, I examined them more closely and became familiarized with them, and the sight of them no longer bothers me.
As mentioned in the article, they’re predators: i.e., they won’t eat your plants or crops, they won’t eat your foodstuff or your house’s woodwork, etc. and unlike spiders they won’t leave behind webs or other dirt.
What’s untrue in the article is that they’ll become an infestation themselves: if you’re seeing a lot of them it’s because you have an infestation of some other insect(s) in your home. Being predators, if there isn’t enough food to hunt the population will migrate or die off (also note that house centipedes can live several years).
It’s also very uncommon for them to sting humans since their bite can’t penetrate adult skin, except maybe for the largest specimens. But having handled a few, they don’t even try.
If you want to get rid of the house centipedes the best course of action is to find and eliminate whatever other insect infestation you have going on. Like the rude, fat uncle that visits on Thanksgiving, once the food is gone, they’ll leave on their own.
7 years ago from Pennsauken,NJ
I’m not a veterinarian my friend. But I suspect that you shouldn’t let your dog anywhere near boric acid. Just a suggestion.
Are those methods(exterminator and boric acid) safe around my dog?
i seriously just saw one run on my floor from under my bed and ive got the creepy crawlies now and cant sleep cuz im freaked out on whether or not theres more too. but ur video did make me laugh a little and i feel a teeny bit better lol
this was already a good hub and the video deffinetly toped it off!! nice! (comment on my hubs now
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The Entomologist Lounge
Welcome to the lounge, where entomologists and insect enthusiasts can relax, grab a cup and put on a nice music. Step out of your day job, and step into your zone, where you reconnect with your passion for insects and enrich yourself with more knowledge.
Insect Hotels: A Refuge or a Fad?
If you are a gardener by hobby and a nature enthusiast by heart, chances are that you are already familiar with the concept of insect hotels (also known as bee hotels). Offering a sanctuary to beneficial insects, especially pollinators, insect hotels are considered to be the urban solution to declining population of beneficial insects in human environments due to habitat loss, pollution and abuse of pesticides. Insects provide many benefits to the ecosystem through pollination, nutrient cycle, and also as food source for birds.
Countless gardening stores and home furnishing stores sell insect hotels. Numerous blogs and websites have step-by-step manuals on how to build one yourself. All units are aesthetically pleasing which motivates well-intentioned buyers into adopting the concept. However, these insect hotels are often badly designed and they offer unsuitable home to the target insects. The warning sign of such designs is the unnecessary use of pine cones, glued snail shells, wood shavings and clear plastic tubes. Too many off-shelf insect hotels or build-your-own websites do not come with clear guide on maintenance, which is very important in ensuring the survival of the insects we intend to host.
Large insect hotels (aptly called insect condominiums) using wooden pallets are becoming very popular as individual or community gardening projects, sometimes to include non-insects such as frogs, toads and hedgehogs. In contrast, natural insect habitats occur as small separate nests, and large insect hotels pose risk of disease and parasitism to the insects inhabiting in high density inside. In fact, Rosita Moenen  observed that increasing number of badly-designed artificial nesting sites contributed to higher loss of (solitary) bees by parasitism.
Parasitism happens when kleptoparasites lay their eggs in tubes or cells occupied by bee larvae. Their larvae will hatch, consume the stored pollen and kill the bee larvae inside. Examples are parasitic wasps Melittobia acasta and Coelopencyrtus sp., and parasitic fly (Cacoxenus indigator) that attack red mason bees  . Insect hotels (especially large ones) make it very susceptible to parasitism.  . When not managed, the parasites will end up spreading to the rest of the insect hotels and will continue on for following seasons. In similar note, mould brings diseases to insects. It grows when moisture condenses and gets trapped in plastic materials  used in insect hotels as tubes and blocks. Lack of good roof/shelter on insect hotels, risking constant exposure to rain also contributes to mould growth.
The key solutions are correct designs, maintenance and nurturing environment.
While it seems on the surface that the insect hotels are more of a disadvantage and less of a sanctuary to the inhabitants, the concept is not a write-off. Everyone, from retailers to gardeners, is responsible to practise due diligence to ensure that these structures are designed and managed to minimise negative effects  . The key solutions are correct designs, maintenance and nurturing environment.
Here is the right approach to insect hotels:
- Insect hotel or insect refuge? Start by thinking which type of insect you wish to host. For example, in the Netherlands,  only three types of bees are tube nesters, namely red mason bees (Osmia sp), leafcutter bees (Megachile sp) and bell bees (Chelostoma sp). These bees occupy only small tubes between 2 mm to 10 mm in diameter. For majority that are ground nesters such as bumblebees, mining bees, plasterer bees (also known as silk bees in Dutch) and many types of beneficial wasps, an insect refuge is a more effective approach instead.
- Be realistic – small is better: Assess your area where you plan to set up your insect hotel or refuge. Think small and have multiple units housing one species rather than a single large one that attempts to host an entire zoo, requiring potentially conflicting environments. For example, hosting frogs and toads require humid environment with partial shade, while bee hotels need to be dry and in full sun. After you gain experience, you can build and create a different unit for another species.
- Choose responsible design: There are a number of good guides online written by entomologists and wild bee experts. Marc Carlton  and Werner David  have written extensively on right designs for bee hotels, in English and German respectively. For non-bee hotels suitable for lady bugs, lace wings and non-migrating butterflies, Melanie von Orlow  has written a book with detailed manuals, available in Dutch and German.
- Build your own, build it right: Sourcing your own materials gives you peace of mind that your insect hotel is made of natural, untreated wood and without chemicals such as varnish, paint and wood protectant that will repel insects. To promote sustainability, consider using recycled or natural materials from your garden. If tubes are drilled into blocks, tubes should be smooth without splinters. Good insect hotels should be built sturdy with solid back and roof/shelter to protect from rain.
- Install it well: For example, bee hotels  must be positioned in full sun, facing south east or south, at least a metre off the ground, with no vegetation in front of it obscuring the entrances to the tunnels. It must also be fixed securely to prevent shaking and swaying from wind.
- Maintain and clean: This is the most overlooked part of having insect hotel. Taking care of insect hotel is just as important as building one. For example, bee hotels  should be inspected at the end of summer to remove and clean dead cells. This will prevent mould and mites that would multiply on the dead bees or larvae. Some experts recommend bringing occupied insect hotel into cool dry area such as garden shed during winter to protect the overwintering inhabitants from wind and rain.  Without timely maintenance and clean-up, a once-occupied insect hotel may not attract a new batch next season.
- Replace when it is time: Insect hotels can degrade naturally after two or more years because the material used is untreated. Change the nesting blocks or parts every two years to avoid build-up of mould, mites and parasites overtime.
Tips to make your garden an insect refuge:
- Create sustainable nature: To encourage insects, especially pollinators, grow beneficial plants that that provide nectar and pollen. Choose native species  such as Lysimachia and Campanula flowers to promote natural biodiversity and avoid non-native plants.
- An overly-manicured garden is not a refuge: Some non-migrating butterflies such as Papilio machaon overwinter as pupae attached to plants, so refrain over-trimming during autumn and spring  . Look out for ground nests of mining bees, bumblebees and beneficial wasps (German wasps and common wasps) before mowing or mulching your garden. It is easier to protect existing ground nests than to artificially create one.
- Limit or no use of pesticides: Using pesticides (such as insecticides, fungicides and herbicides) will be counter-effective as it not only repels away or kill beneficial insects already living in your garden, it also disrupts the natural balance of a local ecosystem. Practise good housekeeping and maintenance so that you will never need to rely on pesticides in the first place. If such need arises, seek environment-friendly remedies or consult professionals instead.
Creating space for insects can be a very rewarding experience and it will teach you, your family and your community about natural diversity and sustainability. Make sure your next project becomes a refuge and not a fad. Your little friends and Mother Nature will thank you for it.
© Jo-Lynn Teh-Weisenburger, Entomologist
Jo-Lynn Teh-Weisenburger is an entomologist based in the Hague, the Netherlands. While her specialisation is on tropical insects that affect public health and agriculture, Jo-Lynn’s passion is to help people understand insects. When she is not scrutinising European insects and books about European insects, Jo-Lynn enjoys exploring recipes, yoga moves and foreign cities. Find her on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jolynnteh
Special thanks to Marc Carlton (http://www.foxleas.com) for his generous insight on this subject. His wealth of knowledge and experience on wild bees in UK and West Europe gave an impetus to many of references listed below.
(This article also made a guest appearance in WWF Amsterdam & The Hague Expat Team blog.)