Millipedes live outdoors in damp areas such as under leaves, needles and dead plant debris, or in cracks and crevices. They feed on damp and decaying vegetable matter and are beneficial as "recyclers" of organic matter. However, they become a pest when they migrate into buildings. Millipedes are usually found in the garage, basement or lowest level although they may wander into other parts of the house. They are most active at night and usually hide during the day in cracks and other moist locations. Millipedes are harmless; they do not feed upon building structures or furnishings and they cannot bite or sting.


curled millipede

millipedes in trap

Most millipedes are brownish or blackish, wormlike, segmented and slow moving. Each body segment has two pairs of very short legs. Millipedes that commonly invade buildings are about ¼ - 1 inch long and tend to coil up like a watch spring when disturbed.

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Identification and Control Information

[Photos, left to right: Gary Alpert, Harvard University,; Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service,; Gary Alpert, Harvard University,]