Millipedes

(Class: Diplopoda)

Identification

Millipedes (Class: Diplopoda) can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all follow a basic segmented body plan of a head and an elongated and cylindrical trunk. The trunk is divided into many small consecutive segments, each with two pairs of legs. This differentiates them from centipedes, which have only one pair of legs per segment. Millipedes are typically slow moving arthropods that live in the soil, eating decaying plant matter.

 

Habits

Because Millipedes eat decaying plant matter, they generally live where it is found in abundance, such as the soils in gardens, however some species can graze on plants, damaging gardens. Millipedes are typically harmless and do not bite; however, some species can secrete an irritant from the pores along their body if they are disturbed. Although this secretion will typically only discolor the skin, it can cause an unpleasant reaction if it gets into your mouth or eyes. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water if you come into contact with millipedes.

 

Control

Millipedes require high moisture levels in their environment. Therefore, they will generally occur in areas that will hold moisture, such as mulch beds, or under concrete. If you are experiencing millipede problems in your yard or garden, attempt to dry the area out and avoid watering if possible. Millipedes generally will not last long inside of a home or structure, as it is too dry for them and they will quickly desiccate. If you do spot a millipede inside, they can be easily swept up and thrown back outside. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water if you have touched the millipede. If you are experiencing a large millipede infestation, call your local Cook’s Pest Control office. Our pest management professionals are highly trained and equipped to assist you with your millipede problems.

About Millipedes

  • Millipedes prefer moist habitats and are often found in organic matter around homes such as soil and leaf litter.
  • They are important nutrient recyclers in soil and leaf litter, they enrich soil as they digest organic material into smaller pieces.
  • Millipedes do not bite or sting, and die within 24 hours of entering a building.