Millipedes and Earwigs in Your House? Here’s What to Do

Keep these creepy crawlers out
Millipedes and earwigs in your house? Here's what to do

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Millipedes and earwigs are a nuisance to come across. Fortunately they’re generally not harmful, but they aren’t exactly the kind of décor most people look to have in their living space. Millipedes and earwigs don’t often infest human spaces, so getting them out isn’t too difficult. Here’s how to do it.

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Millipedes are long arthropods with lots of legs (up to 750!) that mostly feed on dead plant matter and some fungi. Although they look similar, they are only distantly related to centipedes, which can be predatory and venomous in some areas of the world. Millipedes are virtually harmless to humans.

Earwigs are beetle-like insects known for the intimidating-looking forceps that extend from their abdomens. Earwigs are also virtually harmless to humans, and their forceps are used for defense against predators but are rarely strong enough to break human skin. Their name has inspired an urban legend that claims they can crawl into human ears and lay eggs in the brain; however, this is false.

Millipedes and earwigs are insects that both enjoy dark, moist spaces and usually feed on dead vegetation. If you have a space in your home that fits this description, like some leaves in a corner of a basement, cleaning that up may cause them to move on elsewhere. Millipedes and earwigs don’t live in colonies or have queens like ants or bees, so simply taking away a space that they like might drive them out.

Due to their predilection for dark, moist spaces, millipedes and earwigs often wander in through cracks in the foundation of your home, or through unscreened vents or crawl spaces. Sealing large cracks and closing off any entrance points to the outdoors will usually be enough to keep them out.

If your house is well-sealed to the outside, millipedes and earwigs can sometimes enter via human activity, such as bringing in a potted plant for the winter or a damp stack of newspapers that they have crawled into. This may be why you’ve found one in your home.

If you’re repeatedly finding millipedes and earwigs in your home, it could be because the area surrounding your foundation is wet, attracting them and making it more likely that they’ll wander into your basement somehow. Make sure your gutters drain far enough away from your house that the area surrounding your foundation stays relatively dry. For extra protection, you can pick up a pest repellent at your local home improvement store to spray around the perimeter of your house.

With these tips, you should be able to keep these frightening-looking critters from sneaking up on you. Although millipedes and earwigs are not harmful in the vast majority of cases, other pests can seriously damage your house or apartment.