How to control millipedes

Millipedes normally live in the garden.  They are beneficial insects helping with the re-cycling of dead plant material.  They don’t hurt anyone.  However, sometimes they do find there way inside homes.  If you are worried about millipedes inside your home, there are certainly some tips to reduce their presence.  If they do find their way in and you don’t fancy sweeping them up and throwing them back outside, there are a number of products to help you out!

For those living in the Southern states of Australia, particularly Victoria and South Australia, you may have been invaded by the Black Portuguese Millipede…. and these can certainly be more of a nuisance!

It is also important to know the difference between the slow-moving millipede and the fast-moving centipede, as centipedes have a very nasty bite and should not be picked up!





  • They 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).


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.  An infestation will be apparent when large numbers suddenly appear in the house.


The main pest season for portuguese millipedes is Autumn, when they disperse after mating and the chances of an invasion are highest.  However, there can sometimes also be an invasion in Spring. 


  • They are not insects, although they are members of the Arthropod Phylum, which includes insects and spiders.
  • They generally live outdoors in damp areas such as garden beds.  However, they happily live in damp sub-floors in cardboard boxes.
  • 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.
  • Portuguese millipedes are one of the few varieties attracted to light….. which is why they often invade homes.


  • 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)


  • 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.


  • Both Pro-Spray Crawling and Pro-Spray Flying aerosols are good options for direct spray onto millipedes and the occasional spot treatment around potential entry points.
  • Pro-Spray Crawling is the best option for longer lasting residual control around the perimeter and outside entry points.