What To Do About a Millipede Invasion
The Texas millipede is 1 to 1 1/2 inches long with a with slender, tubular brown body. It moves slowly in a wave-like motion and eats decaying leaves and other dead plant matter.
It is an arthropod of the class Diplopoda, meaning two legs. The Latin part of the name—Milli—means thousand, but they do not have that many legs.
The millipede is one of the oldest known land animal and, in prehistoric times, grew to over six feet long. Modern millipedes are a lot smaller, except for the Giant African Millipede, which can reach lengths of 11 to 15 inches. They live for one to ten years, depending on the species.
Centipede vs. Millipede
You can tell the difference between a centipede and a millipede by leg count. A centipede has only one pair of legs per body segment, whereas millipedes have two pairs per segment. Centipedes bite and release a venom that can be a health threat to young children or people with venom allergies.
Millipedes don’t bite, aren’t poisonous, and don’t pose a threat to humans. However, some species secrete chemicals to protect themselves from predators. The secretions can cause skin irritation. In most cases, however, they will roll into a ball and rely on their hard shell for protection.
Where Do They Live?
Millipedes are attracted to dark, moist, cool environments. Outdoors, you’ll find them in mulched areas, compost piles, under leaf matter, and in the rotting logs on which they feed.
But sometimes the weather in Austin becomes uncomfortably hot and dry, or too wet after heavy rains. And great numbers of millipedes may literally invade your home or office. This is when they become a nuisance to people.
Millipedes have long, thin bodies and can fit into tiny cracks and spaces, often getting into homes that are otherwise considered insect-proof. When they come up against a structure, a millipede will climb up the walls and go into roof spaces and sometimes gain access though lighting or other electrical fixtures.
Fortunately, your home does not provide the decaying plant matter they eat, and therefore, they will not live long indoors.
How to Get Rid of Millipedes
- Do not mulch right up against your structure.
- Keep vegetation trimmed back from the structure.
- Keep compost and log piles at least thirty feet from your structure.
- Ensure that weather strips are installed and functional.
- Use screens on windows that are left open.
- Inspect the perimeter of your home or office annually to look for cracks and gaps that insects could use to access your space.
- Clean up clutter in basements and crawl spaces, especially organic matter that would provide shelter and food.
If millipedes invade your indoor space, try a DIY pest control method like vacuuming or sweeping them up.
We can help with your other pest control needs, for ants, termites (drywood and subterranean), scorpions, bed bugs, and grubs. We set mosquito traps for mosquitoes, and keep rodents at bay with critter control.
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