Scientific Name: Eurymerodesmus spp.

How to identify a Millipede

Millipedes, vary in size and colour (depending on species).  The portuguese variety is black and up to 45 mm long. May vary in the number of body segments, but they always have 2 pairs of legs per segment (centipedes have one pair of legs per segment). Young millipedes look just like the adults (only smaller).

Where are Millipedes commonly found?

For many homeowners, the millipede may only be an occasional invader and are unlikely to experience an infestation.  However, for homeowners in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, they can become victim to an invasion of portuguese millipedes as these can build up in huge numbers in garden beds.  

Why are Millipedes considered a pest?

Millipedes generally live in gardens but are considered a pest when numbers buil up and they invade homes. Although they are generally harmless, they can release pungent excretions (to avoid being eaten by birds), which can stain skin and clothes and irritate eyes.

What is the biology and lifecycle of Millipedes?

They are not insects, although they are members of the Arthropod Phylum, which includes insects and spiders. A  female millipede can lay up to 300 eggs in the soil, which hatch within a few weeks. Millipedes go through 7-8 life cycle stages from birth to adult. Millipedes mature within 2-5 years and live for several years after maturation.

Management Tips for Millipedes

Millipede Prevention:

  • Keeping the perimeter of the home clear of garden beds and mulch is the best preventative step. However, if this is not possible / desired, non-plant mulch (pebbles) should be used and watering should be kept to a minimum.

  • Potential entry points to the home should be sealed up appropriately and draft excluders / screens should be in good condition.

  • For areas prone to Portuguese millipede invasion, there are some additional tips

  • Turn off external lights and use curtains / blinds during the season to make your home less attractive

  • Consider using a light trap away from the house as an alternative light source to attract and kill them

  • Place smooth rounded physical barriers around the perimeter of the home at ground level to prevent them climbing into your home (they cannot climb smooth surfaces)

Millipede Control:

  • They are easily killed with a direct spray of insecticides either with an aerosol or ready to use pump pack.

  • How to get rid of millipedes is best achieved by carrying out a perimeter spray with an insecticides, focusing on good coverage at ground level and around potential entry points.


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