Actual Size: ½ to 6 ½”

Characteristics: Brownish, elongated, and cylindrical

Legs: Common species have between 34 and 400 legs

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Habitat: Usually harbor under rocks, vegetation, and logs. Attracted to areas of moisture.


  • Need moisture to survive.
  • Nocturnal and stay hidden during daylight hours.
  • Cannot survive indoors for more than a few days.

Millipedes in North Carolina

Millipedes, sometimes called “thousand leggers”, are household pests. These creatures normally live outdoors where they feed on damp and decaying wood and vegetable matter, as well as tender roots and green leaves on the ground. Many millipede species protect themselves by means of glands that secrete an unpleasant odor. Millipedes are found in every U.S. state, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as in Puerto Rico.

Because there are many different types of beetles in North Carolina, they can be difficult to distinguish, however our common beetle species can help with this.

Millipede Habitat

In nature, millipedes are scavengers and feed mainly on decaying organic matter. They occasionally feed on young plants but the damage inflicted is seldom significant. Millipedes have high moisture requirements and tend to remain hidden under objects during the day. Millipedes often leave their natural habitats at night and crawl about over sidewalks, patios, and foundations. At certain times of the year, especially during autumn, they may migrate into buildings in great numbers.

Millipede Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

While millipedes sometimes enter structures in large numbers, they do not bite, sting, or transmit diseases, nor do they infest food, clothing, or wood. Millipedes are simply a nuisance by their presence, often invading crawl spaces, damp basements, and first floors of structures at ground level. Frequent sightings of these pests indoors usually mean that there are large numbers breeding on the outside in the lawn, or beneath mulch, leaf litter, or debris close to the foundation. Because of their moisture requirement, millipedes do not survive indoors for more than a few days unless there are very moist or damp conditions.

If you are dealing with excess millipedes in your North Carolina property, contact your local exterminators.

Are Millipedes Dangerous?

For the most part, millipedes are not harmful to humans or pets. They lack venomous fangs or stingers and are not aggressive. However, their defensive secretions can cause mild skin irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals.  It is essential to exercise caution when handling them.

How to Get Rid of Millipedes?

If you have a millipede infestation in your home or garden, there are several methods to control their population:

  • Manual Removal: You can manually pick up millipedes and relocate them to a more suitable outdoor habitat. Ensure that you wear gloves to avoid direct contact with their defensive secretions.
  • Reduce Moisture: Since millipedes thrive in damp environments, reducing moisture levels in and around your home can discourage their presence. Fix leaks, improve drainage, and use dehumidifiers in basements or crawl spaces.
  • Seal Entry Points: Seal cracks, gaps, and other entry points that millipedes may use to access your home.
  • Professional Pest Control: In severe infestations contact your local Bug Out team to provide professional pest control to get rid of millipedes.

Millipede Prevention Tips

Taking proactive measures to prevent millipede infestations can help protect your property:

  • Remove Debris: Regularly clean up leaf litter, decaying plant material, and debris in your garden or yard to eliminate potential millipede habitats.
  • Improve Ventilation: Proper ventilation can help reduce humidity levels in your home, making it less attractive to millipedes.
  • Seal Cracks and Crevices: Seal any gaps or openings in your home’s foundation, walls, or doors to prevent millipedes from entering.

Frequently Asked Questions


Should you Kill Millipedes?

While Millipedes are generally harmless, it’s best to avoid killing them unless necessary. Instead, consider alternative methods for their removal.

What Attracts Millipedes in Your House?

Millipedes are attracted to moisture and decaying organic matter. A damp environment or a buildup of leaf litter and debris can attract them indoors.

Are Millipedes Poisonous?

Millipedes are not poisonous, but some species can release defensive secretions that may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. It’s important to handle them with care.