Worms and Millipedes…Theyre Everywhere!

Rene Schmit  |  10/11/2012 9:01:36 PM


Photo By: West, Lisa

Many residents throughout the River Parishes are experiencing a high incidence of earthworms and millipedes found crawling or dead on their driveways and walkways. The sudden presence of multiple earthworms and millipedes is due largely in part to seasonal rains that have significantly raised the water level in soils. The response by the earthworms and millipedes to this situation has been to seek higher ground which quite often involves finding shelter inside the home.

Although large numbers of earthworms and millipedes appearing suddenly may seem that an invasion is underway, this is not the case and is more a representation of the normal population that is commonly present throughout the lawn area of the home landscape. Millipedes are not worms and often are referred to as “thousand legs.” Like earthworms millipedes are beneficial to helping with decomposition of plant materials such as grass clippings. But also like earthworms, millipedes can be a nuisance when they move out of their burrows and into the home.

Because earthworms and millipedes are beneficial there is little reason to destroy them. But when they become an annoyance control may then be necessary. Granular products that contain bi-fenthrin, such as Talstar or Bug Blaster or any granular lawn insect product that contains pyrethrin will provide an effective control. Control would involve treating the outside perimeter of the home, at least 15 feet from the base of the house. Also treated should be the ground area adjacent to the foundation, edges of walkways, landscape beds and other areas which are heavily mulched and remain damp. Treatment inside the house is usually not practical.

In addition to earthworms and millipedes, fall army worms are also on the move and appearing in large numbers in lawns. The reason for the appearance of a larger than normal population is due to the available soil moisture that is conducive to helping them survive longer. Army worms in large numbers can cause damage to lawns and control would be necessary if grass injury occurs.

Control of army worms can be accomplished by treating the lawn area with Carbaryl or liquid Seven. Carbaryl is generally sold as a concentrate and is mixed with water. Control would involve making a total of 3 treatments to include one application per week to the lawn. Carbaryl can be applied using a hose end sprayer or a pump sprayer but the hose end would offer a much easier application. Liquid Seven can be purchased as a pre-mix and applied easily by connecting the pre-mix bottle to the garden hose and turning on the water.

Remember before using any pesticide to be sure to always read and follow the label directions to provide safe and effective use.

Rene’ Schmit is the St. Charles Parish County Agent of the LSU AgCenter and can be reached at 985-785-4473.

Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture