Have a problem with millipedes inside your home? Want to get rid of these creepy, unattractive bugs?
If preventative measures don’t work, you might consider using pesticides to eliminate the threat of millipedes.
What are the best insecticides for millipedes? Because millipedes come into contact with the surfaces they crawl on, a residual pesticide that retains its power for months is the best option. If you need to get rid of millipedes outside the home, a natural, plant-friendly spray is a great choice.
Making a decision on which product to buy can be intimidating and can lead to unnecessary costs and wasted time.
Read on to figure out which solution might be best for you.
Best Practices for Preventing Millipedes
Before you begin attacking the problem, you should make sure you’ve correctly identified which bug you’re targeting.
Millipedes are segmented arthropods, which means they have a hard exoskeleton that is divided into individual sections.
Like their cousin, the centipede, with whom they are commonly confused, they have numerous legs.
Millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment, unlike the centipede, which only has one pair per segment.
Learn more about how these two similar arthropods differ in this article: “Are Millipedes and Centipedes the Same?”
Most millipedes in North America range from brown to black in color and are an inch or two long with twenty or more body segments.
Generally, millipedes can be distinguished from centipedes by their behavior. While centipedes are fast and aggressive, millipedes are slow and docile.
Millipedes are better at burrowing and digging into soil than they are at swimming or running away quickly.
When threatened, millipedes curl up into a coil to allow their hard exoskeleton to protect them.
They will also secrete a cyanide-like substance when threatened in order to scare off predators.
While not fatal to most humans, this secretion can cause minor irritation on skin or in eyes.
Millipedes are classified as detritivores, meaning their diet consists mainly of decaying organic matter.
While centipedes are carnivores and will eat insects, spiders, and other centipedes, millipedes feast on plant material in the soil.
For this reason, these creepy bugs are considered good for the soil.
Like earthworms, they consume and digest the plant matter and accelerate the decomposition process. This aerates the ground and provides nourishment for the plants.
Where Millipedes Are Commonly Found
If millipedes get into your home, it is probably because their home environment outdoors is either too wet or too dry.
Needing an appropriate amount of moisture, millipedes will seek damp, dark situations in order to live and breed.
This is why, if you’ve ever lifted the bark off a rotting piece of wood or a paver off the dirt, you’ve probably seen several millipedes.
Millipedes can easily be found anywhere that includes plenty of moisture and decaying organic matter:
- Compost piles.
- Stacks of wood.
- Leaf litter.
- Cut grass.
- Rotten tree stumps.
- Untreated wood.
- Animal waste.
For more details on what attracts millipedes, head over to this article.
When fighting against millipedes, the best tool in your arsenal is good prevention.
There are several methods of prevention to keep the millipede population in your home or lawn under control before using pesticides.
The best way to do this is to make it difficult for millipedes to enter by moving their natural, desired habitats away from the foundation or exterior of the house.
- Keep their food sources away from your house: see list above.
- If it is impossible to move the food sources away from the house, try to raise them off the ground to make them harder to reach.
- Apply correct weather stripping to all the exterior doors of your home.
- Make sure all windows seal properly.
- Locate and seal cracks and crevices on the exterior of your home that might be letting millipedes enter.
If you notice millipedes getting into your basement or crawlspace, it is probably because they are seeking moisture.
Thus, your goal should be to eliminate humidity inside your home and keep them outside where they can benefit the soil.
- Use a dehumidifier (this one with automatic on/off sensors removes 5 gallons of moisture per day) to get rid of excess moisture.
- Quickly fix any faulty plumbing, air conditioning condensation, and exterior leaks that are leading to water in your home.
- Use drainpipe extensions to divert rainwater and snowmelt away from the foundation of your home.
- Keep your lawn watered adequately to satisfy the millipedes.
Before deciding to turn to pesticides, be sure to read our guide, “How to Get Rid of Millipedes.” You may discover that a natural solution would be a better option.
What to Look for in Pesticides
If you are unable to prevent millipedes from infesting your home and lawn area, considering pesticides, or more specifically insecticides, is a viable option.
There are several types of pesticides, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, when dealing with millipedes.
Types of Insecticides
- Contact pesticides: chemicals that work when they come into contact with millipedes. They’re quick, powerful, and come in aerosol and fogger forms. Use these when you need to quickly dispose of large groups of millipedes.
- Residual pesticides: used to kill and prevent. Their potency lasts for a longer period of time and kills the pests as they crawl or walk over the pesticide.
- Insect dust: used for cracks and crevices to insert the chemical into hard to reach areas. They require a special tool, almost like a bellows for a fire, to shoot them into the application area.
- Perimeter pesticides: similar to residual pesticides in that they kill and prevent bugs like millipedes from migrating inside when outdoor conditions are unfavorable. They are applied in a three-foot border around the foundation or property of your home.
- Granular pesticides: used in outdoor environments and are typically spread using a handheld spreader. Use these when millipedes have infested your yard and are harming the plant life on your property.
Millipedes are not very hardy, so most chemicals will be very effective on them.
Residual pesticides will be very effective and will generally get the job done against millipedes.
Because millipedes typically only enter homes when the outdoor conditions are unfavorable, you should be able to apply these once per season to take care of the problem.
Millipedes are not flying bugs, so they must crawl over surfaces to make it into your home.
Thus, with a residual pesticide, there is no way that a millipede can avoid coming into contact with the solution.
The same applies to perimeter and granular treatments.
Contact pesticides will not likely be necessary in most cases. Millipedes are slow and docile, and will not take over your home in large numbers quickly.
Dust pesticides might be effective, but would be best used if there is an obvious crack or crevice that is allowing millipedes to enter that cannot be reached with a sprayed liquid.
Most likely, however, you will be able to take care of the problem without a dust.
As mentioned above, millipedes are good for the soil in appropriate numbers.
So, unless you are convinced that an excessive number of millipedes are killing your young plants or lawn, it is a bad idea to kill the millipede population outdoors.
Safe for Use Around People and Pets
The reason that pesticides are effective is because they are harmful for their intended targets.
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to create a chemical pesticide that is only harmful for millipedes.
Thus, users must exercise extreme caution when using chemical pesticides. Always read the warning label on any type of chemical carefully.
These labels will take into account the toxicity (capacity to cause injury or harm) of the specific product and will tell you how to use it appropriately.
Most perimeter or residual pesticides are safe for humans and animals once they have dried.
The amount of toxicity it takes to kill millipedes is much less than it takes to harm pets or children. The danger with liquid pesticides comes when applying the product.
Thus, be careful when applying the liquid solution, and wear personal protective equipment such as medical grade gloves and shoe coverings (find them here on Amazon).
Pesticide dusts are more powerful and remain on surfaces for longer periods of time. Again, if used as directed, dust should not be a threat to children or pets.
Granular pesticides usually dissolve within 24 hours.
If millipedes have overtaken your yard and you have determined that a granular pesticide is necessary, keep pets and people out of that portion of the yard until the granules have dissolved and dried.
Follow the product instructions carefully.
Ease of Use
Pesticidal liquids come in a variety of forms that affect their ease of use. The simplest come in a bottle with a spray hose and nozzle attached.
These types of pesticides will often offer refill bottles for a discount, which you can then pour into the spray bottle.
Others require a hand-pump spray applicator, like you’d use with a liquid lawn fertilizer.
The most cost-effective types of residual pesticides come in a concentrated form that must be diluted with water. This adds some complexity to their use.
Dust pesticides and granular pesticides both require a specific tool to apply.
Dusts need a bellows-like device to shoot the product into cracks and crevices.
Granular pesticides need a fertilizer spreader, either handheld or pushed, to be applied correctly.
Best Indoor Pesticide for Millipedes
We recommend using a residual or perimeter pesticide for millipedes. Below you will find the best products to consider, along with pros and cons for each product.
Ortho is a trusted home pest removal brand that makes quality products.
Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor and Perimeter kills over 130 different bugs and pests, making it a versatile product.
It works for 12 months indoors and can be applied on any nonporous (or solid) surface. As for outdoor protection, it lasts for three months when applied in a 4-inch wide perimeter.
The Comfort Wand feature makes the pesticide easy to use, and there is no dilution or measuring necessary. Nonstaining and odorless, this product is safe for children and pets.
Ortho sells refill containers for the Comfort Wand bottle, making the sprayer reusable and more convenient.
- Effective against millipedes and many other pests.
- Continues to work indoors for up to 12 months.
- Easy to use.
- Won’t stain surfaces.
- Safe when used correctly.
- Occasionally the Comfort Wand feature breaks or stops working.
If you’re looking for a relaxing, nontaxing product, look no further than Raid Max Bug Barrier Starter.
Using a battery-powered, automatic spray nozzle, this product will not put stress on your hand and will help you complete your project efficiently.
The spray nozzle is adjustable and can spray different distances and intensities. It is long lasting and works with the refill bottles that Raid sells.
This pesticide works for indoor and outdoor nonporous surfaces. As long as it is used as directed, bugs and pests will be prevented for twelve months.
Because the liquid dries within an hour, it is safe for homes with kids and pets.
- Battery-powered, adjustable spray nozzle.
- Long lasting, up to 12 months in some cases.
- Can be used indoors and outdoors.
- Dries in less than one hour.
- Spray nozzle requires two AA batteries.
- Small screw on battery compartment can be tough to access.
Similar to the Raid Max Bug Barrier Starter, this product comes with a battery-powered spray trigger.
Effective on crawling, flying, and wood-boring bugs, the versatility of this pesticide is second to none, and it might be the only pesticide product you need to buy.
Lasting for 12 months indoors, it will continue to work long after the initial application.
This product can be used indoors and outdoors as a perimeter defense but can also be used as a contact pesticide in case of extreme infestations.
The handle on the battery powered sprayer is designed with Ergo-Grip, meaning it will be comfortable for long jobs in large areas.
- Battery-operated spray trigger.
- Kills a wide variety of insects.
- Indoor/outdoor use.
- Kills on contact and prevents reinfestations.
- Ergo-Grip handle.
- More expensive than other pesticide options with automatic sprayers.
Best Outdoor Pesticide for Millipedes
Rarely is there an indoor millipede infestation that is not caused by an outdoor infestation.
If you have decided that there is a harmful amount of millipedes in your yard or garden and have exhausted other options, you might consider using a pesticide to control the millipede population.
Safe for most plants and quick drying, this product is an affordable solution for your millipede problem. Use it as a perimeter residual or as a lawn cover to keep millipedes at bay.
One way you can prevent millipedes from entering your home is by using nonorganic materials, such as pebbles, around the perimeter of the foundation.
If you do not want to take the extreme step of removing mulch from your property, consider using this safe-for-flowerbeds product containing bifenthrin.
Because this is a concentrated pesticide, you can choose your power. Have weaker, less-hardy pests, such as millipedes? Use a weaker dilution rate.
Other hotspots for millipedes, such as garbage cans, wood piles, and grass clippings, can be sprayed by this product.
Also spray it in cracks and crevices in the exterior of your home to prevent millipedes from entering.
- Can be safely used on trees, shrubs, plants, and lawns.
- Affordably priced.
- May be safely mixed with other pesticides, such as insect growth regulators.
- Safe to use indoors as well.
- Has residual effects.
- Must be diluted with water.
- Requires a sprayer (not included).
If you are looking for a product that is made of natural ingredients and prevents millipedes as well as other crawling pests, consider trying Wondercide’s natural product.
Since this product is made without harsh chemicals, it is immediately safe for kids and pets. It can be sprayed on decks, lawns, and flower beds.
Incredibly cost-effective, one bottle can treat up to 10,000 square feet.
Wondercide’s Outdoor Pest Control Spray does not just kill existing pests, it also repels them in the first place.
- All-natural, plant-based ingredients.
- No wait time for product to dry – safe even while wet.
- Treats existing infestations and prevents future invasions.
- Won’t harm bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.
- Must be diluted.
- No sprayer device is included.
Granular pesticides can be an effective and lasting treatment for outdoor millipede infestations. The best granular pesticide is made by Ortho.
Servicing an area of 5,000 square feet for a very cheap price, this is one of the more cost-effective products on the list.
It is also hardy enough to withstand inclement weather for up to three months.
Tough enough to kill millipedes, this product also controls over 150 other pests and bugs.
- Provides control for up to three months.
- Kills broad range of insects.
- No mixing or diluting required.
- Must be watered in after application.
- Lid does not contain shaker holes, so separate handheld spreader will be required.
Your options are many when trying to determine which pesticide to use to get rid of your millipede problem.
If you have taken preventative measures and they have failed, you will likely find success in using a residual or perimeter pesticide for indoor problems and a spray or granular pesticide for outdoor problems.
Remember to always follow the instructions on pesticide labels, and wear appropriate personal protective equipment, and your millipede problem will be a thing of the past!
For more helpful information on dealing with millipedes, prevention tips, and elimination solutions, visit all of our millipede articles. Click here for more.