“What is the best method to permanently eradicate these pests?” asks this reader in Central Ohio, who sends in pictures of these small, black-brown critters. These critters have supposedly taken over our reader’s “rarely used, finished basement” and he thanks us in advance for our help.
Our reader notes that the carpet in the photos is synthetic and that there are no live plants located in the basement. We suppose he mentions this in order to rule out the possibilities of these being textile- and plant-eating pests. Naturally, that does not completely rule out these options, but no matter, we already know what these are either way.
What gives these creatures away as millipedes is the video (linked below) that our reader sent in of one of these creatures walking. Millipedes have dozens of legs tucked away underneath their body that let them seemingly glide over the surfaces they walk on. Unlike their cousin the centipede, millipedes are completely benevolent creatures and are nothing to be worried about. In fact, these little guys are benefactors of the environment; like earthworms, millipedes convert the decomposing organic materials that they eat into nutrient-rich faecal matter that acts as a fertilizer once broken down in the soil.
Unfortunately, infestations of millipedes can occur, even if they are not there to feed on anything. Basements in particular are often the sight of millipede infestations, simply because the climate conditions are favorable to millipedes; cool, dark and damp environments are make perfect habitats for millipedes. Curiously, these millipedes still sought out a finished, carpeted basement, which is not nearly as adequate as an unfinished basement, but the fact that it is rarely used may contribute to the discovery of the millipedes.
Now, when it comes to eradicating millipede infestations, the key is prevention rather than elimination. As these are benevolent, beneficial creatures, we recommend that our reader move any roaming millipedes outside, and that he does not kill them.
After he has done that, he should vacuum the entire basement to remove any eggs the millipedes may have left behind. Next, he should make sure there are not piles of stuff laying about, as it is specifically piles that millipedes are attracted to; they love hiding between and under things that provide extra shade. Our reader can also make sure that the same goes for the outdoor environment; piles of rocks or leaves should be moved or dismantled.
Additionally, if there are leaves, twigs or other materials pressed up to the house, then moving them away from the house will detract millipedes from approaching the house. If the basement has windows near the top of the walls, then there should definitely be no such organic materials pressed up against the windows.
If he is not already doing this, our reader may also want to make sure the basement is kept at a warm temperature, even if he is not using it, as this will also help detract millipedes from approaching the basement. Plus, even if one did make it into the basement, then it would dry up before it got the chance to lay any eggs.
In conclusion, the “pests” our reader found in his basement are just millipedes. Of course, infestations of any kind are not pleasant, but our reader should count himself lucky that he got a harmless creature and not something more sinister. We hope that the information we provided helps our reader deal with this infestation and that he is able to rid of it soon!