What are Millipedes?

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As a home or business owner in Texas, there are many pests that you may encounter. Some of these pests can be extremely destructive, such as termites, and others pose health risks, such as rodents. However, there are many pests that are mostly just a nuisance. But even nuisance pests can be annoying to deal with, gross to look at, and difficult to get rid of. Learn more about the nuisance millipede and how to prevent them.

What do Millipedes Look Like?

A millipede has a head with two antennae connected to a long, segmented body. Each segment has two pairs of legs. Movement is slow as the legs advance in a wave-like flow. In Texas, millipedes are typically brownish but can be orange, red, or yellow. They tend to curl up in a spiral when threatened. While millipedes in this part of Texas tend to be less than 1 ½ inches long, there is one type in West Texas that reaches 4 inches long. 

How to Tell if it’s a Millipede or Centipede

Millipedes are confused at times with centipedes. There are some similarities between these two that makes them hard to tell apart, but there are key differences. Here are the general characteristics of millipedes:

  • They are usually red, brown, or black.
  • Their antennae are small.
  • They are a cylinder shape and have a similar body to a worm.
  • One of the best ways to tell the millipede from the centipede is that millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment while centipedes have one pair per segment. Also, a millipede's legs are hidden under their bodies and don’t stick out as much as centipedes' do.

Where do Millipedes Live? 

Millipedes are nuisance pests. They prefer to stay outdoors but will come in when the weather is extreme or during disasters such as a hurricane. Outdoors, they are found in leaf litter, compost piles, and mulch, and in other places that are moist and sheltered. They look for the same things inside; a humid area that is dark and where they can remain hidden. 

Are Millipedes Dangerous?

While millipedes in Texas are not poisonous and do not bite, they do contain hydrochloric acid, which is not good for people or pets. If a child or a pet eats these creatures, they could get sick. In addition, millipedes can produce a smelly fluid from glands on their legs that can cause skin irritation, blisters, eye irritation, and cause skin discoloration. It can make people who are sensitive to venom very ill. Always wash your hands after handling a millipede until you can no longer smell the fluid. 

How to Prevent Millipedes from Coming Indoors

There are some things you can do to prevent millipedes from coming into your house. While millipedes don’t come inside often, and they die quickly when they do, inclement weather can cause a large number of them to enter at once. These tips will help prevent them from coming in at all.

  • Move firewood, stones, and compost away from the house. 
  • Place rocks around your foundation to make it harder for millipedes to enter the house. 
  • Occasionally turn the mulch in flowerbeds near the house to let the mulch dry out. 
  • Seal cracks in your foundation.  
  • Fill the weep holes in brick exteriors with steel wool or copper mesh. (Don’t use steel wool with light bricks because it rusts when wet.) 
  • Check the seal around doors and windows. 
  • Seal any spaces around pipes, wires, and cable entrance points. 
  • Eliminate moist areas in your home.

How to Get Rid Of Millipedes

Once millipedes get into the house, they are hard to get out without treating the baseboards, cracks, and crevasses, wall voids, and other places. That can be a lot of work. Bill Clark Pest Control can help. We can send one of our Bugsperts out to your house for a free inspection. They will inspect your house inside and outside, looking for pests and potential problem areas. They can then come up with a plan to get rid of not just millipedes, but all your pests. If you approve, our Bugspert will treat the inside and outside for the pests you have.

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