House Worm Infestations: How Do They Get In?

Many homeowners who believe their homes are infested by worms are actually misidentifying millipedes or centipedes. Homeowners have reported finding small, grayish brown "worms" on floors, which are actually millipedes on closer inspection. Typical worms such as earthworms rarely infest houses because they live exclusively in soil. Millipedes, however, can be drawn to the moisture, dark spaces and organic matter that can hide under floors and in walls. Often, millipedes and other pests enter the home through doorways or cracks in walls and foundations.

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Most "worms" that infest houses are actually millipedes or centipedes.

Moisture

Moisture is a major factor in a worm infestation in a private home. Often, moist conditions will allow bacteria and mold to grow inside walls, as well as cause wood to decay. Millipedes and centipedes feed on decaying plant matter and sometimes even on other insects which are drawn to this moisture. One way to combat an infestation is to purchase or rent a dehumidifier to rid the area of moisture.

Basements

Since many millipedes and worms live in the soil, they will often enter houses through the basement or foundation. Worm infestations in basements are very common, and homeowners should always finish basements to prevent pests from entering the home. Spraying bug repellent or insecticide products around the edges of a basement where the floors meet the walls, as well as in the upper corners of the room, can also prevent pests.

Doorways

Doorways also present places where bugs or millipedes may enter the home. Pest sprays should always be sprayed in doorways and around the perimeter of the house to form a barrier against insects. Doorways near the floor should also be sealed with caulk. If there are cracks between the foundation and the doorway, fill the crack with steel wool and cover with aluminum weatherstripping or seal with caulk to prevent pests from entering the home.

Sealing Your House

There are several ways to seal your house and prevent a worm infestation. First, all vents near the ground should be covered with a fine wire mesh and sealed. All crevices or crannies in both exterior and interior walls both above and below ground should be filled with steel wool and sprinkled with diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a powder that enters cracks in an insect's carapace, causing the carapace to break and the insect to dry out and die. Seal over filled cracks with caulk, and make sure to choose a caulking compound that is suggested for the area that you are caulking, whether indoor or outdoor.