What is a millipede?
Belonging to the arthropod family, millipedes are 2.5 to 4 cm long and brownish. They are nocturnal, and you will always find them moving around in bulk.
Contrary to popular beliefs, millipedes, also called a thousand leggers, have much less than a thousand legs. Their body is divided into small segments, and each segment has two short legs on each side.
This bug with many legs is a scavenger that feeds on decaying plant materials. Millipedes do not cause harm to property and furniture like rodents, termites, cockroaches do. Damage caused by termites and rodents can cost thousands of dollars for repairs. Millipedes are a nuisance pest and might look scary, but they do no potential harm to humans – they do not bite, transmit disease, or infest the food.
Different types of millipedes
There are various types of millipedes based on different colors, shapes, and sizes.
1. Giant African Millipede
With the ability to grow for about 15 inches, this 256 legged millipede is amongst the largest types of millipedes. They are dark brown and are found in the rainforests of Africa.
2. Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede
As the name suggests, these bright pink-colored millipedes are about three cm long. It releases a toxin, which smells like almonds, and is harmful to its predators. Their bright color and spines warn the predators not to eat them as they emit toxins.
3. Cave Millipedes
Cave millipedes are found in caves throughout the United States. They are adaptive to their environment and are almost pale and blind.
4. Garden Millipedes
You can commonly find garden millipedes in your home garden. They eat decaying plants and create a stir for homeowners.
Why are there millipedes in the house?
When the outside weather changes into extreme rains, excessive cold, or turns into a drought-like situation, millipede bugs find their way indoors.
Below are some indoor and outdoor places you can find them in:
- Indoors: You can find them in damp areas like the laundry room, crawl spaces, garages, basements, etc.
- Outdoors: Under piles of leaves, flower pots, wood piles, plant debris, below stones, etc.
How to get rid of millipedes and prevent them from coming in
- Consider waiting them out
Most millipedes in home stick around because they do not know how to get out. They are not likely to survive in dry places and die within a few days of infestation. If you find one at your home, wait it out.
- Vacuum or bug spray
Pests like cockroaches, spiders, millipedes, centipedes can be found in the basement of your house. Make sure to implement proper steps to prevent these basement bugs. Vacuuming or doing a spot treatment by spraying bug-killing pesticides on them are some straightforward ways to get rid of them.
- Creating a bug barrier
You can literally create a barrier between millipede bugs and your house. Spray an anti-bug spray on entrances of your main door, vents, garages, utility doors, the bottom of doors, along the interior walls of basements and other spaces.
- No piling up
Ensure there’s no mulch build-up on walls. Remove leaves, grass, woodpiles, stones gathered outside your home.
Try to get rid of humidity in the corners of walls, laundry room, basement, garage, foundation by dehumidifying them all.
- Keep cleanliness
The area that a millipede infestation problem can affect needs cleaning and regular maintenance. Throw away any collected water that will create a damp environment.
Millipedes vs. Centipedes
Commonly mistaken for being the same, centipedes and millipedes are indeed different. Although they belong to the same family of arthropods, there are noticeable differences between centipedes and millipedes.
|They belong to the Diplopoda class of arthropods.||They belong to the Chilopoda class of arthropods.|
|Since they are detritivores, they feed on decaying organic materials.||These carnivores are predators to insects and consume spiders, earthworms, and other arthropods.|
|They are not venomous and will not bite you but leave some fluid in defense.||Centipedes are venomous and will bite you.|
|Each of their body segment has two pairs of legs.||Each of their body segment has only one pair of legs.|
|They are known to move quite slowly.||They are known for their agility and quick speed.|
|Millipedes will curl up in a ball when threatened.||Centipedes will bite or sting if you go to handle them.|
1. How many legs does a millipede have?
The word ‘milli’ came from Latin, which means thousand. They certainly do not have a thousand legs since their body is divided into segments, and each segment has two pairs of legs. Different types of millipedes have different numbers of legs. For example, the Illacme Plenipes millipede has 750 legs, while most millipedes have 300 legs.
2. What do millipedes eat?
Most millipedes are scavengers and feed on damp or decaying wood particles, leaves, and other plant materials. If the surroundings dry out, they might start consuming fresh plants and leaves.
3. What attracts millipedes, and where do they come from?
Dark, moist, and cool places attract millipedes. The environment should be rich in organic matter such as compost piles, flower beds, rotting logs, or the soil under logs and stones. They come through porches and patios and climb through basement doors, crawlspaces, vents, etc.
4. Are millipedes poisonous or dangerous?
Although millipedes are not poisonous, they still can produce fluids as a defense mechanism that might cause allergic reactions on your skin. The fluid is rich in hydrochloric acid that chemically burns the skin and causes long-term discoloration.
5. Why do I have millipedes in my house?
Excessive rains, freezing temperatures, and drought-like situations are less favorable for millipedes, and hence to survive, they seek shelter in damp corners of your house.
6. Are millipedes bad for plants?
They cause no damage to humans, but they can cause damage to your garden by destroying seedlings and eating off vegetables.
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