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After cursing all the slugs in my yard and removing the few that I could catch, I was quite shocked yesterday to discover 100+ young plants all chewed to the ground.

I was going out at 9 - 10pm to find the slugs but was only seeing one or two per night.

Last night I went out at 12:30am and noticed just under 10 millipedes having a feast in what was left.

So how can I do battle with millipedes? I know they stay just under the surface during the day. My patch is heavily utilized so I don't want to remove everything to deal with them.

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Fortunately, I have never had to do battle with millipedes, so I can't suggest a remedy based on personal experience. However, a quick online search has come up with this article which suggests the following control measures:

  • Remove as much garden debris as possible, since this is an ideal breeding ground for them

  • Drench the soil where they are with this insecticidal soap

  • Wherever possible, dry out damp areas

  • Hand-pick them off your plants and soil

I hope this helps.

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Q. Are you 100% sure it's millipedes causing the "real" damage? Could it instead be something like cutworms causing the "real" damage and the millipedes are just feasting on the remains?

To check if you're dealing with millepedes (which tend to be dark in colour), squash one, if there is a strong "stinky" smell after doing so, then you have millipedes.

Q. Are the plant-beds mulched? If yes, with what?

As far as I'm aware all the organic control options given here on SE should also work on millipedes. That said, I think of the 6 options given, "Diatomaceous Earth" might be the best option in your particular case. Since being reminded, told about "Diatomaceous Earth" I keep hearing, reading about how effective it can be as an organic pest control option when placed around plants...

Vacuuming might be another organic control method worth looking into (at least until you have the problem under control):

Some additional reading from the Department of Agriculture and Food (Western Australia):

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thanks for your answer. They are definitely millipedes, I'm not sure we get cutworms in Australia. – xiaohouzi79 Aug 20 '11 at 0:16
@xiaohouzi79, Yes you do. Take a look here (or follow the "cutworms" link in above answer), then click the link under "Some additional reading". – Mike Perry Aug 20 '11 at 3:44

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