½- to 1-1/2 " long.


Brown or black.

Millipedes normally live in soil, under rocks, and in other dark, moist places. Outdoor in damp places, such as under decaying leaves, piles of leaf litter and in mulch around outdoor plantings.

In dry weather they will migrate out of the litter piles as the leaves dry, and they may cross road and enter buildings in large numbers. This behavior may also occur in lawns that contain thick thatch layers, or yards where large piles of leaves or compost piles are present. Millipedes do not have venomous stingers or fangs, but some of them can secrete bad-smelling and bad-tasting chemicals from pores in the sides of their bodies. These chemicals help keep many predators away. Despite this defense, millipedes are often eaten by centipedes, spiders, and predatory insects.

They feed on damp and decaying vegetable matter as well as on new roots and green leaves.

Millipedes are harmless; they do not feed upon building structures or furnishings and they cannot bite or sting. Millipedes cannot reproduce indoors. All millipedes found inside wandered in by mistake.

Millipedes Prevention TipsMillipedes that wander indoors usually die in a short time because of the dryness.


It is very important to make the outside of your home as unfavorable as possible to millipedes reduce their numbers.

  • Caulk or seal cracks and other openings in exterior foundation walls and around doors and ground-level windows by late summer.
  • Remove leaf litter and decaying vegetation from around the foundation which provide food and shelter for millipedes. A border of bare soil around the building next to the foundation also helps to make the area a less favorable habitat.
  • Trim and thin foundation planting so that ventilation permits the soil to dry more quickly near the foundation.
  • Allow the soil near the house to dry between watering. Roughening the soil surface will speed drying and will work plant materials into the soil where it is unavailable to millipedes.
  • Reduce thatch in your lawn to discourage millipedes. This is best done by dethatching in early fall.


Within homes, millipedes often die quickly because the encrionment is usually too dry. When millipedes are frequently found alive, it indicates excessive moisture is present. Use a method to dry the room as a long-term solution. Reduce favorable places for centipedes to hide.

  • Remove millipedes with a broom or vacuum cleaner. Kill and remove millipedes as they are seen. Also set out sticky traps (e.g., Roach Motel) on floors where centipedes are often seen to capture them.
  • Remove unnecessary boxes, bags, and other clutter that gives centipedes favorable places to hide.
  • Place a dehumidifier in damp areas to sufficiently dry the air. Structural repairs may be necessary to the home and/or yard if a dehumidifier does not keep a room sufficiently dry.

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