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How to Control Garden Millipedes

When millipedes invade your yard, they’re in search of three things—moisture, food, and shelter. Your garden and yard offer millipedes easy access to these necessities. While a few of these arthropods won’t harm your garden, a large infestation could hinder the health of your plants. We’ve gathered information to help you keep millipedes out of your garden.

What Are Millipedes?

Brown millipede

Millipedes are arthropods with a cylindrical-shaped body. They are usually brown or black and grow between 1/16ʺ-4 ½ʺ. They have a segmented body, and each segment typically has two pairs of legs. Most millipedes have less than 100 legs, but there are species with hundreds of legs. Millipedes prefer to live outdoors in damp and undisturbed environments.

Why Are Millipedes in My Garden?

Garden with mulch and shrubs

Millipedes love moisture and most gardens provide them with plenty of water sources. Damp soil, mulch, and standing water can attract millipedes to your garden. They also enter yards searching for food and shelter. Millipedes feed on decaying plant material like fallen leaves and grass clippings. These items can also serve as a hiding place for millipedes.

Are Millipedes Dangerous?


Millipedes are more of a nuisance than a threat. They aren’t known to bite or sting. However, they can release a liquid that can cause skin irritation. Since they prefer to feed on decaying materials, plants aren’t usually targeted. Millipedes can actually be beneficial to gardens since they break down organic material. However, if they can’t find a good food source, they’ll eat the roots, stem, or leaves of living plants. This often happens when millipedes infest gardens in large numbers.

How to Control Garden Millipedes infographic

How to Prevent Garden Millipedes


The best way to avoid a millipede infestation is through preventative measures. Check out a few tips to help keep millipedes away.

  • Eliminate Standing Water: If your yard or garden has standing water, millipedes and other pests are sure to move in. Check for moisture build-up in items like flowerpots, and replace water in birdbaths and pet bowls regularly.
  • Ensure Gutters Work Properly: If moisture builds in gutters, this can also attract millipedes. Clean your gutters and make sure water drains away from your home.
  • Check Your Sprinklers: You’ll also want to examine your sprinklers and make sure they are functioning properly. Watering your lawn in the morning will help ensure it dries before millipedes become active at night.
  • Don’t Overwater Plants: Not only will this help prevent millipedes, it will also keep your plants healthy.
  • Keep Lawn & Plants Trimmed: Tall grass and overgrown vegetation provide millipedes with hiding spots. Keeping your lawn and plants trimmed can deter these pests from staying in your yard.
  • Remove Leaf Litter & Grass Clippings: Leaf litter and grass clippings provide millipedes with food and shelter. Remove these from your lawn.
  • Keep Woodpiles Off Ground: Woodpiles can retain moisture, which millipedes love. Keeping wood off the ground will make it harder for these pests to access them.

How to Get Rid of Garden Millipedes

Yard Bug Spray

If millipedes have taken over your garden, you’ll want to control the situation before they move indoors. Here are a few tips for eliminating a garden millipede infestation.  

  • Clean Up Your Yard: To control a millipede infestation, you’ll need to implement the preventative measures discussed above. Eliminate sources of water, food, and shelter to make your garden and yard uninviting to millipedes.
  • Sweep Them Away: For smaller infestations, you can use a broom to remove millipedes from your garden. If you have a vacuum that you can use outside, this will work too. Place them in a sealed bag and dispose of it in a trash bin with a secure lid.
  • Spray Them Away: Spraying the perimeter of your yard and garden with a plant-based insecticide spray can help eliminate an infestation. Our Yard Bug Spray kills on contact and provides you with residual repellency. This creates a protective barrier to help deter millipedes from crawling in your yard and garden.
  • Indoor Protection: If millipedes sneak into your home, our Home Bug Spray will help to get rid of them. It kills on contact and has residual repellency properties. Spraying common entry points can help to prevent millipedes from entering your home.

While millipedes may find your garden welcoming, you don’t have to let them stick around. Take the time to pest-proof your garden and yard to help keep millipedes away. If pests are giving you a fit, we’re here to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products.

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