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A reader asks:  For the last six months little worms have been entering my house from outside. They usually are curled up and dead when I find them. They seem to come under the sliding glass doors. Do you know what type of worms these are?

Dear Reader: You are probably seeing millipedes, also known as thousand leggers. They often curl up into a tight "C" shape and remain motionless when touched. Milipedes normally live outdoors, but are attracted to dark, cool, moist environments and may come indoors because of heavy rains or excessive drought. It is not unusual to hear of hundreds of them leaving very wet or very dry conditions to find their way into basements and first floor rooms. They can even easily crawl up sides of houses and come in through cracks in windows or wall vents.
***image1***Although millipedes do not bite humans or do any damage they can be a nusiance. To control millipedes you need to elminate moist, damp, dark places where they feed and reproduce. Places like compost piles, piles of grass clippings, accumulations of leaves and wet mulch offer great millipede habitats. Rake and remove trash or leaf litter surrounding the house foundation and expose soil to air and sunlight. Repair cracks and openings in foundation walls and around door and window frames to eliminate possible entry points.

Treating the exterior perimeter of your house with a barrier of liquid pesticides may provide some relief. There are many good insecticides available. Just make sure millipedes are listed on the pesticide label as a target insect. Be sure to put down enough so that the material soaks down through any mulch layers. Repeat applications weekly as needed.

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