Portuguese Millipedes are invading Perth’s suburbs in plague proportions. Unfortunately this is just the beginning….
Over the past 10 years we have watched these millipedes steadily invade our homes. In 2016 we were completing millipede treatments from Two Rocks to Dawesville. We sent our DIY Nematodes kits as far South as Albany and Esperance which highlights just how bad this problem is for our beautiful state.
So what is a Portuguese Millipede?
Portuguese Millipedes (Ommatoiulus moreletii) belong to a group of insects called Myriapoda. There are several different types of native Australian millepedes which are brown in colour, have a bumpy appearance and are usually found in low numbers. The Portuguese millepede, however, have a smooth, dark brown cylindrical body. They curl up into a circle as a defence mechanism and make thrashing snake like movements when they are trying to escape. When they become agitated they secrete a yellow liquid that can stain paving and walls. They feed on leaf litter, decaying wood and other vegetable matter.
How did they get here?
Portuguese Millipedes were accidentally introduced in South Australia in the 1950’s and have since spread to most states – including Tasmania. They were first recorded in the Roleystone area in 1986 and have since spread throughout the southern part of Western Australia.
These millipedes reproduce in autumn and early winter – depending on seasonal rain. The female millipede lays around 200 eggs in the soil. The young millipedes (nymphs) remain in the soil for about 6 months before they emerge as juvenile millipedes. This is why there is generally a re-emergence during spring rains. They are tough little critters and can survive without food and water for up to 4 weeks!
How can I get rid of them?
Millipedes can be very difficult to eliminate completely and a management plan to reduce their numbers is the best coarse of action. They are one of the few millipede species that are attracted to light making your house an invasion hotspot when the sun goes down! Turn off external lights when you aren’t using them and minimise the amount of light that escapes through blinds and windows.
Hot Tip: Set up decoy lights away from your home to redirect the millipedes or use one of our millipede light traps (available here).
Make sure you have weather strips on your doors and door seals in place. Unfortunately millipedes love to breed in organic matter and garden beds so diminishing food supply near the house will help alot.
Hot Tip: Minimise garden beds near your house walls and rake up leaf litter regularly…. (this will also help with Termite Control)
When cleaning up dead millipedes remember to sweep them away – rather than crushing them as they will secrete a yellow liquid that can stain your paving or concrete.
Biological Control – Nematode Release (Chemical Free)
Envirapest are excited to be able to offer a unique biological control (chemical free) option for the control of Portuguese Millipedes with the release of an Australian native nematode (rhabditis necromena). Our Perth trials, in recent years, resulted in a dramatic decrease in millipede populations without the use of pesticides. The nematodes are a natural predator for the millipedes and because they are native will not become a pest themselves (they are already here). The nematode is specific to millipedes only and will not harm any other insect, plant or animal. Releasing nematodes is a natural alternative to combat millipedes and can be an important part of an integrated pest management system. Head on over to our nematode page for more information and find out how we can help you.
Chemical treatments are an excellent line of defence – they can be sprayed around your home and garden reducing numbers dramatically. They will kill the millipedes (and other insects) when they come in contact with the product. When applying pesticides you should enlist the help of a professional as they are trained in the safest application methods, products and techniques. Like us! Chemical barriers will need to be reapplied annually to have the most effective results.
Smooth barriers can help to prevent millipedes entering your home because they have trouble climbing up and over smooth surfaces. The problem with this, however, is they need to be fixed, continuous and have no breaks. They are a chemical free option and can be useful around garden edging etc in some situations.
Millipede Light Trap
$195 inc. gst
|Chemical Free Control Option|
|High Quality Fittings & Finishings|
|Colorbond Steel Construction|
|Choice Of 3 Colours|
|Portable & Battery Operated|
|Family & Pet Friendly|
|No Assembly Required|
|West Australian Made|
Millipede Nematode Release
$205 inc. gst
|Chemical Free Control Option|
|Native Australian Nematode|
|Specific To Millipedes|
|DIY or Serviced Options|
|Family & Pet Safe|
|Long Term Control|
Millipede Barrier Treatments
$220 inc. gst
|Water Based, Odourless Product|
|Family & Pet Safe|
|4 Month Guarantee|