You live in Ireland and suddenly notice black millipedes gathering on your walls by hundreds? or an invasion of centipedes all over your house? The rather damp Irish climate favour them in the winter months. Every year we receive many calls looking for insecticides to get rid of them.
Here is some simple advice to keep them at bay.
Millipedes activity along a wall
Can I spray centipedes and millipedes with insecticide?
Unfortunately, there are no insecticides registered in Ireland specifically to control centipedes and millipedes. But since they curl up into a little coil when disturbed or once dead, all you have to do is to pick them up with a broom or vacuum them up.
Also, both centipedes & millipedes are very beneficial for your garden, because of their role in insect control and plant decomposition, so we do not recommend the use of insecticides to reduce their numbers.
Why am I invaded with hundreds of them?
Millipede in a garden
Millipedes & centipedes normally spend their lives outside in damp areas under leaves, mulch, flowerpots, stones, compost piles or old boards.
Nevertheless, they may end up in your home by mistake or while searching for water during dry periods or even more frequently in search for shelter after heavy rains flush them out of their natural habitat, causing an infestation in your house or garage.
You can greatly reduce their numbers: when their food source is removed, millipedes and centipede numbers will decrease.
If you notice a heavy millipede infestation in your house, it is likely that you have many of them breeding under leaf litter, mulch, debris, or in your lawn. So we recommended to trim and tidy up your garden ground as much as possible.
Remove leaves, mulch, firewood, old boards, grass clippings, stones, cardboard boxes and similar items on the ground next to your outside walls. If you cannot remove an item, put it off the ground as all of these things attract and sustain centipede and millipede activity.
Rake any leaf litter and mulch to expose the millipedes’ hiding places and disturb their habitat
Millipedes also live on lichens so use properly functioning gutters, downspouts and splash blocks to drive water away from the base of your walls.
Dry-up: If there is poor drainage around your house, you may need to install floor tiles, underground drains, or slope the ground so water moves away from your walls.
Remove any thatch from your lawn and mow the grass short to make it less attractive to millipedes.
Avoid over-watering your lawn or watering your lawn at night to keep millipedes (and slugs) at bay.
If possible, keep a bare zone of 12 to 18 inches from foundation walls.
As both centipedes and millipedes are quite big so they need large gaps to enter your house. Try to identify and seal gaps, e.g.:
under the entrance doors using bristle strips (on the outside)
cracks at the base of your house outer walls, in walls, around pipes, around door and window frames, using expanding foam, caulk or concrete