Category: Occasional Invaders
Slow-crawling, round-bodied pests which have two sets of legs on each body segment. Millipedes develop best in damp and dark locations with abundant organic matter (food). They often curl up into a tight “C” shape, like a watch spring, and remain motionless when touched. The body is long and cylindrical.
Millipedes have caused some problems around Virginia in the summer and fall. Areas around houses that provide conditions for millipede infestations include piles of grass clippings, a wooded lot close to the house, excessive mulch around the house, and similar locations.
They lay eggs in the spring and populations build up during the summer. Under good conditions (adequate food and habitat), populations can become very large. Then changes in the habitat (excessive moisture, lack of food, too little moisture) cause the population to disperse.
May infest a basement and other parts of the house in the fall.
Controlling such large numbers of millipedes can be very difficult. It seems that most insecticides available to homeowners are not very effective in killing millipedes. Non-chemical control measures, such as looking for the source of the problem, may be useful but not always possible or effective. Populations of millipedes may build to large numbers in one year, the habitat becomes overcrowded, and thousands of them migrate to other areas.