Millipedes are taking over my garden! Help!

McLean, VA

I have tons and tons of millipedes. Yes, it's been a little wet...Yes, I have a lot of mulch. But YUCK! I can take a few, but they've taken over. Some have also moved north on my plants and have congregated at a stem intersection in GROUPS. I can't take it.
I've tried to find as much info as possible. i understand they aren't harmful, but I truly would like to either get rid of them or thin them out. I've been told they are part of the "circle of life" of the garden, but I liked Simba in the Lion King...this Circle of Life grosses me out.
Anyone have any ideas how to get rid of them or thin them out? Something besides picking them out by hand? I was thinking of raking all of the old mulch and putting in new. Thoughts? Experiences? Golden nuggets?

Thanks, all. I really rely on my Dave's Garden friends for answers.


Thumbnail by XGAPEACH
Keaau, HI

They are not a problem.

If you like to garden, learn to like the bugs that go along with it!

A healthy garden is full of life.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

and they'll move out on their own eventually. think of all the toads, spiders, snakes and birds that are having a feast!

Edinburg, TX

Eeeek!!! That's too gross for me!!! I've read they like damp areas and feed on decaying leaves - sounds like what we have in our gardens.

Also read they work wonders at breaking down organic material and they feed on roaches, flies, pill bugs and other small bugs and so long as they aren't damaging your plants you can leave them alone.

I don't think I could stand to have a garden full of them though - and did more research - you can spread laundry powder - any cheap brand will do - around your house and near any cracks in your foundation. Apply it about once a month. Not sure if you want to do that though - if you have a flower garden to attract butterflies - they as well as their caterpillars could end up dying too.

~ Cat

Tokyo, Japan(Zone 10a)

Millipedes.are in the top draw when it comes to the good guys in the garden. playing an important part in
recycling nutrients back to the soil. Lucky you!

Edinburg, TX

I have gobs of earthworms in my soil - and when the wind blows leaves to my curb and the sprinkler system get them wet - the earthworms gravitate to the rotting leaves. When it's time for me to rake up the leaves I always scoop up the earthworms and toss them back into my yard :o) Still don't think I could do that with those creepy crawly millipedes - even if they are the good guys!

~ Cat

Tokyo, Japan(Zone 10a)

No need to worry about millipedes they'll find their own way home.

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

I'm with you XGAPeach. Big Yuck!

I lived in Savannah for four years.

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

I had trouble with sowbug. They do their dirty work at night. I used Sevin dust sprinkled on the soil after watering. Sowbug likes dampness. You should see all the dead sowbugs the next morning.

Tokyo, Japan(Zone 10a)

I was raised on a farm and I guess learned at an early age to accept bugs as part of the ecology.
Consequently there are few this that I find as you put it, "big yuck" They all have the right to share our environment. please take a closer look as many of them are as beautiful as they're fascinating.
When we garden we share their world. They in all probability think of us as "big yuck"
Gardening is about getting your hands dirty and learning to accept the things you hate!


(Zone 5b)

well I had no idea millipedes were good for the garden! makes sense, once I think about it. I have a natural aversion to anything with more than 4 legs....when I see millipedes I move to another area of the yard lol millipedes around the mailbox, I'll go out back...ants in the back, I'll go to the side....bees in the side yard...time to go in & cook dinner lol
It's rare I get the whole yard done at once.
XGAPEACH I always root for the little baby bird that falls out of the nest too...hard to walk away & let nature prevail.

Marinette, WI(Zone 4b)

Get some chickens. But I don't guarantee they will not eat the greens in the garden too ^_^

Dahlonega, GA

I root for the little birds too , every time I teach them to eat from a dropper , then release them when they can fly . digger

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

XGAPEACH Millipedes are often confused with wireworm so here is an ID for them.
Quoted from The Gardener's Bug Book

"Millepedes are long, hardshelled, cylindrical, with 2 pairs of legs on each of their many segments. Brown or pinkish brown about 1" long and are usually coiled up like a watch spring.

Wireworms are also hard-shelled but are flat, not round in cross section and have only the 6 legs of a true insect and do not coil up.

Millipedes are useful as scavengers feeding on decaying vegeable matter and manure, but somtimes eat small roots or seedlings and bean, corn, or pea seeds. They slide into cabbage heads, tunnel into potato tubers, and into carrots, beets, parsnips, or turnips. They also attack fruit that touch the ground especially strawberries, tomatoes, and muskmelons.

To control spray the soil with malathion, Sevin, or diazion"

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

One of the things that I like best about this website if the ability to learn new things, and share experiences and insights in an nonjudgemental environment. It is perfectly alright to dislike a particular insect or plant. One person's dislike does not limit the plant or insects contribution to the environment.

There are many things in this world that I dislike but still have value: For example, I dislike raw chicken, but I do pick it up and cook it and eat it anyway. I also dislike the idea of sticking my hands in anyone's mouth, but I appreciate the fact that there are trained dental hygenist who don't share this view.

It is perfectly acceptable to find something yucky. A personal opinion does not devalue an insect/plant/person's value.

This message was edited Aug 13, 2009 10:32 PM

Keaau, HI

Thanks Pennefeather! It's good to be tolerant of the Nature that we come from.

I personally would rather have bugs in my garden, than cancer causing chemicals.

Dahlonega, GA

I don't like no see ums . I have to put Off on every time I go outside . They don't bother dh . D

Marigold Cottage, United Kingdom

yack...gross i hate crawling insects...creepy but if you really like just have to endure it...

Tokyo, Japan(Zone 10a)

Gardening and bugs are like peaches and cream, they just go together! Very few can hurt you! Learn about
the ones that can, about the ones that are your gardening friends and about the ones that eat your plants!
Know your friends and know your enemies. Don't just blanket hate all bugs!

Boston, MA(Zone 6a)

Good Lord I've never seen that many millipedes together in my garden! I would think that there's obviously something there that is a food source for them or they would not stick around. I usually let them be and they do there bug thing. I have a ton of sow bugs that I believe they are feeding off of so I can't complain. If you take the mulch out - maybe they will move to other areas...?
I agree with Pajonica "Know your friends and know your enemies. Don't just blanket hate all bugs!"

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Xgapeach, do you have a compost pile? If so, then rake back your old mulch onto an old tarp or sheet and dump it in the compost pile. The millipedes won't mind, and you won't be killing them, but you will benefit from them doing their job in the compost, and you won't have them grossing you out in your garden....that way everybody's happy.

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