The millipede is the true definition of a “creepy crawler” and seeing one makes you want to call OMNIS for millipede control. Millipedes are often in horror movies or even nightmares, but this is not to say that they are all bad. They appear to be creepy, but they may not be as bad as one would think.
Now even though they are not as bad as everyone thinks, this does not mean they deserve to live in your home uninvited. Millipedes have their role in the ecosystem doubt, but that role is best performed outside in the environment.
Millipede derives from Latin, meaning “a thousand feet” however, most millipedes have less than a hundred legs on their whole body. A millipede has many segments that make up its body, with pairs of legs per segment. They typically range anywhere from less than an inch long to just under five inches.
They are invertebrates, meaning they lack a backbone, and they are not considered actual insects. To be classified as an insect, the critter must have three distinct body regions such as a head, thorax, and abdomen; they must also have three pairs of legs and two antennae. Millipedes have many more than just three legs, which is why they are Diplopoda, or “double foot.”
The millipede has a range of rustic colors that it can take on, from dark brownish/red to orange or even black. They have a body that looks like a worm, but it has two legs per segment.
Millipedes are pretty docile for the most part; they do not bite, pinch, or sting. The majority of the time, they can be confused with their lookalike, the centipede, but they are nowhere nearly as dangerous. It is essential to understand the difference between millipedes and centipedes because centipedes can bite.
Additionally, centipedes also have venom that they can use; though not lethal to humans, their venom can cause painful reactions. Millipedes can secrete a poisonous bodily fluid that can burn through other insects when in contact. As for the dangers this fluid presents to humans, typically, it is not a threat, except maybe some irritation to the area.
Millipedes are expert burrowers due to the number of legs they have at one time digging through the ground. They will be more active at night unless it has just rained; this is because millipedes thrive in moist environments.
A typical millipede diet consists of decaying organic matter, earning them the title of “detritivores.” They will eat dying leaves and plants, feces, and even sometimes their feces.
It is not typical that a millipede would prefer living indoors unless there is a high moisture area. Otherwise, the millipede would only last a few days before dying.
Why They are a Problem
Millipedes may not pose a lethal danger to humans. However, they still are not a company you want to keep around. Millipedes can release poison as a defense mechanism that may not kill humans but may cause a reaction. Some species of millipedes will even squirt their attackers, which increases the risk of their poison getting in your eyes.
Additionally, millipedes can quickly take over an area if left untreated since their typical egg count is around one hundred. Their incubation period is about three months, but they bury the eggs underground, so there is no way of telling for sure.
In the event there is millipede activity inside the home, this could indicate a potential issue. The only time a millipede should find themselves in a house on purpose is if there is a heavy moisture source drawing them in. They could crawl in through crawl space vents and under unsealed doors or windows. If there is a lot of millipede activity, this might be signs of a more significant water issue.
Finally, another reason to keep millipedes away from your home is simply because of the other bugs they might attract. Millipedes are still part of the ecosystem and have predators such as ground beetles, ants, and spiders.