Spotted snake millepede infestation #611790 - Ask Extension


Spotted snake millepede infestation #611790

Asked January 29, 2020, 1:05 PM EST

I am having a major problem with Spotted snake millepedes eating the roots of my young plants in my greenhouse. I've also got them in my garden beds probably from bringing in horse manure in years past. Wondering what the best way to treat these pests? Beneficial nematodes? I'm a little wary of introducing the nemotodes into my garden as I've never used them..can they cause their own set of problems? Also, is it too cold to use them now? I'm out on the north Oregon coast, so it's not usually too cold here even now. I've also found some older gardening book references talking about using garlic to deter pests like this; as well as putting out pieces of potato, etc as bait and then removing the pests each morning, which I have been doing and it definitely is pretty effective. Any advice on how to solve this problem would be much appreciated. Thank you. Justin

Tillamook County Oregon

Expert Response

The good news is that these millipedes specialize in eating dead organic matter.

So, if your seedlings are being damaged, i wonder about several things:
- What kind of plants are you growing? a) in the greenhouse?; b) outdoors?
- What is the prevailing temperature for the plants? a) in the greenhouse? b) outdoors?
- Are the plants in a high organic mix? As the millipedes eat ("clean up") the dead organic stuff in the mix, roots can be disrupted and even damaged.
- And/or in a mix that contains manure? Same reason as above.
- Excess water retention in the growing mix can damage roots which the millipedes would then begin nibbling.

You might like to review "Spotted Snake Millipede" -

Beneficial nematodes can help limit damage by some soil-borne pests. But the prevailing temperature must be above 55F. These particular kind of nematodes never damage plants.

By the way, thank you for including the image. It verifies that your ID is accurate.

Jean R. Natter Replied January 30, 2020, 1:06 AM EST

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