Bleach can kill millipedes, but it can also cause harm to the surface where it is sprayed. Therefore, it is important to dilute the bleach before using it on millipedes. Using a diluted bleach spray won’t kill the millipedes instantly but it will break down the exoskeleton of the millipede causing them to die in a few seconds.
During the late spring and early summer, I start to notice millipedes creeping around the baseboards of my basement and throughout my garden. I wasn’t sure how to get rid of them. And I don’t have a lot of chemicals readily available at my house, except for bleach that I use for disinfecting. That’s when I wondered, could I use bleach to kill millipedes?
If you still want to use bleach to solve your millipede problem, read on to know more about how to dilute the bleach to be most effective against the millipede but least damaging to your surrounding areas. I will also discuss more effective ways of killing millipedes if you don’t want to wait around for the bleach to take effect.
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While using Bleach does kill millipedes, it’s important to dilute your bleach correctly. Bleach is made with sodium hypochlorite and is corrosive to surfaces and skin. So in addition to diluting the bleach correctly, be sure to also wear gloves during this process to protect your skin. Also, ensure you are working in a well-ventilated area.
To start, bleach should be diluted with one part of bleach to 10 parts of water. For instance, if you are using 1 tablespoon of bleach, then it should be diluted with a gallon of water. I suggest mixing in a large bucket and pouring it into smaller spray bottles. This way, you can spray around the baseboards of your home where the millipedes are entering.
Millipedes are drawn to damp places, so those areas in your home are the best to look out for and spray first. Now, for your garden, you could pour the entire bucket of diluted bleach in your soil where you are noticing the millipedes, but then, all your plants and everything else would be exposed to the bleach as well.
After you spray the areas of your home where you are noticing the millipedes with your bleach solution, all you have to do is wait.
The bleach will begin to break down the exoskeleton, the outer layer, of the millipede. Millipedes need moisture to survive, hence why they seek out damp places. As their exoskeletons break down, and they lose moisture, they will die.
Soon, you won’t see those little insects scurrying around your basement anymore. You will see their bodies littered around the baseboards. At this stage, you can sweep them up and dispose of them in your trashcan.
Since you are probably proud of your lawn and garden, I imagine you don’t want to destroy all your hard work for the sake of a few crawly millipedes. Hence, you most likely won’t be dumping a bucket of diluted bleach into your lawn. So how do you get rid of the millipedes then? Well, I did some research and discovered there are a few other ways to kill these pesky bugs.
Here are some quick, fast, and highly-chemical ways to kill millipedes:
Carbaryl: registered for use since 1959 in pesticides, this man-made pesticide is toxic to insects. Used to ward off spiders, aphids, fleas, ticks, fire ants, and other insects.
Permethrin-based pesticides: One of the oldest and most widely used insecticides, sometimes used under the name Nix. It can kill a wide range of insects including mosquitoes, flies, fleas, and ticks.
If you are going green, or against using such harsh chemicals because of the potential damage they may cause to you or your pets, there are more natural alternatives. Read on to find out about some less-toxic methods.
1. Wood Ash
Acts as a natural repellent to millipedes and can be purchased at hardware and specialty retailers. The ash works by absorbing excess moisture in your soil after it is mixed in. Once the soil has less overall moisture, it becomes less appealing to the millipede to lay their eggs there. Thus, fewer eggs equal fewer millipedes.
2. Cayenne Pepper
I’ve tried this remedy myself against ants, and it appears to work for millipedes as well. Sprinkle the powder around doorways, cracks, foundation and other entry points to your home.
Note: This works more as a repellent than an insect killer.
3. Sulfur Powder
This remedy is a smelly one. But millipedes avoid sulfur. Sulfur can be purchased at most industrial supply stores, and you’ll want to spring for the pure form. Sprinkle the powder around those entry points, and the millipedes will steer clear.
Note: this is also a repellent and not a pesticide. Also, don’t spray it where you plan to spend a lot of time, i.e. your window sills in the family room.
4. Millipede Trap
This method takes a few more steps and equipment but doesn’t require you to sprinkle or spay anything around your house. You will need a bottle, bait, and a small tube that fits inside the bottle but is large enough for the millipede to climb through.
First, get bait such as ripened fruit to place inside the bottle. This will lure the millipede to your trap. Next, place the tube just within the opening of the bottle. But not far enough that the sides of the tube touch the sides of the bottle. Secure the tub with tape, if necessary. Place the trap along the path where you are noticing a lot of millipede traffic.
The goal is to get the millipede to climb into the bottle, but since the tube is not touching the sides of the bottle, the millipede can’t climb out. This is a method that although you do not have to monitor, you do have to prepare yourself to then dispose of a bottle of millipedes.
Millipedes like moisture. This is why they are in the soil and in around the damp parts of your home. A dehumidifier will help to regulate the moisture levels in your home, making it less ideal for millipedes to stay. Less ideal home, fewer inhabitants.
6. Get a Chicken Coop
Now, this solution does seem to take the most amount of work as you are now caring for another living thing. But, chickens will go to work plucking and eating the millipedes from your soil. And, they will lay you eggs. So win, win? I think so. But do remember, the chickens are now yours.
Continue Reading: Will Bleach Kill Weeds? Is It Effective?
In your lawn and garden, millipedes eat the dead leaves and decaying wood from sticks, branches, firewood, and other organic material found outside. In your home, millipedes are drawn to damp areas inside the house once it becomes too hot and dry outside. This is why they are mostly found around window sills, crawlspaces, porches, and patios.
So, there you have it, bleach can millipedes but there are less harmful ways to take care of these pesky insects. Take your pick from the useful suggestions above and see which one best suits your needs and level of millipede infestation.