Coming home from a long day, it is raining outside and you just want to get the car in the garage and go inside your dry home. However, as you are getting out, you notice a worm-like animal that has a million legs. What is it? It is a millipede. Are millipedes dangerous? Fortunately, no they are not. However, you don’t want to touch one with your bare hands as some species have a fluid that comes out and can irritate the skin.
Let’s take a look at what millipedes are and where they come from and how to keep them away from the home.
What is a Millipede
Millipedes are not insects but rather are small arthropods and are found in moist and damp locations. They are also known as a 1,000 leg worm or rain worm. Their thousand legs body is elongated and in a cylindrical shape and black or brown in color.
Every millipede has two pairs of legs per body segment. Also, when disturbed or dead, the body curls into a spiral shape. Often mistaken for a centipede, they like to come out at night when the dew is setting on the grass and the humidity is high.
Where Millipedes Are Found
As mentioned above, millipedes are found in moist and wet areas. Species can vary in length from less than 1 to 2 or more inches long and the garden is very commonplace to find them. However, they usually don’t make it into the home because it is too dry.
But, if the ground stays wet for too long, they often will look for another place to go. The millipede will crawl along the foundation and look for cracks or sealants that are not doing their job around windows and end up in the lowest part of the house. Depending on where you live, this could be the garage or basement.
Are Millipedes Dangerous
The good news is that millipedes are not dangerous. However, you want to wear gloves if you pick one up as they have hydrochloric acid that comes out of them as a defense mechanism. This will also depend on the species. This fluid is dangerous to the eyes and causes the hands to have an odor so gloves are highly recommended if handling millipedes.
If you do get the fluid on your hands, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and then with ether and alcohol. Also, humans can have allergic reactions or skin irritation from millipedes so use caution.
How to Keep Them Away
Even though millipedes are not dangerous, they can cause harm to your plants. They do this by feeding on vegetables and destroying the seedlings. If this starts to happen, you will want to keep them away. To do this, try the following:
- Eliminate the damp area of your garden – doing this will allow the millipede to move on. Keep an eye out for eggs in the damp areas as the millipede may lay them to wait out the winter.
- Replace old mulch from under plants– if you can rake out old mulch and replace it, this will get rid of the millipedes that are hiding
- Store compost, firewood, and stones away from the home – this is so the millipedes won’t have a place to hide. Storing firewood away from the home also is important.
- Seal up cracks– make sure that you seal basement windows, outside doors, and outside foundation so millipedes don’t have a way to get inside.
- Aerate the lawn – aerate the lawn and also water in the morning so it will dry with the afternoon sun.
- Use a dehumidifier – using one of these in the home can pull out the moisture and make it dry inside the home. If a millipede does get in, it will die quickly. Also, the dehumidifier will help control mold growth in the home.
- Sign on a pest control company – having a pest control company is worth it as it will save you time. Companies know where to look on the outside and inside of the home for areas where pests can come in and create infestations. Know that they have the tools needed to take care of a pest problem for you.
Difference Between Centipedes and Millipedes
As mentioned earlier, millipedes and centipedes are often confused. We know the characteristics of a millipede, but what about a centipede?
- A centipede is known as a 100 legged worm with a flatter body and long antennae
- They vary in color from light yellow to dark brown to reddish-brown
- Centipedes feed on insects and have a venom they inject into their prey
- There are one species that reproduce in the home and that is Scutigera coleoptrata. It is often seen in and around homes
Cost of Pest Control Services
Pest control services will vary depending on where you live. However, the average is about $69-$89 bi-monthly with an average initial cost ranging from $300 to $550 on the first visit. Additionally, if you have an infestation you are dealing with, it can cost more. Contact a local reputable company to come out to your home to check it out.
When you are looking around the outside of the house to see where millipedes can hide, keep in mind that the landscaping around the home is also important to keep water out. You want to make sure that the soil is only touching the foundation, but not the siding. If it touches the siding, water (and pests) can make it inside the home.
Keeping the home dry inside is a good idea and one way to continue to do that is to make sure the air conditioner in the home is set to the “auto” setting. This will allow the moisture to be pulled out of the home. Also, this is especially important here in the South since our high humidity is more than in other states.
Lastly, when you are looking around the inside of your home for cracks where pests can get in, keep in mind that moist areas, along with books, wallpaper, and pantry items also attract Silverfish.
When to Contact a Professional
We know that the good news is that millipedes are not dangerous. However, if you are noticing millipedes in your home, or any pests, contacting a professional pest company is important. Sometimes what looks like one or two can turn into an infestation. A pest control company can take the stress off your hands and take care of the problem.
Millipedes are not dangerous and often are not a nuisance. However, they can be if you don’t take the precautions around the home. Take the time to clean up the areas where they like to hide. You are not only keeping them out of the home but also preventing other issues from happening.
If you are looking for the best recommendations for pest treatments or pest control, then you will want to call All South Pest Control Services. All South Pest Control will be able to determine if you need basic pest service needs in McDonough, GA, and the surrounding areas.