What is it about bugs with lots of legs? Something feels extra creepy about the way millipedes move. But are millipedes dangerous? Despite the peculiar way these elongated arthropods get around, they aren’t especially dangerous to pets and humans. However, they aren’t completely harmless, either.
What Are Millipedes?
You might have heard that millipedes have 1,000 legs. But contrary to popular belief, most common millipede species actually have somewhere between 34 and 400. (Although some exotic species have been found with as many as 750 legs!) Millipedes can be identified by their long, rounded bodies divided into many segments, each with its own pair of legs. Most are dark brown in color and can measure between 1/2 inch to 1 ½ inch in length.
Millipedes thrive in areas of high moisture-rich with decaying materials. They can often be found in dead logs or stumps, leaf piles, or compost heaps. They are regarded as one of nature’s best recyclers and help to expedite the process of breaking down organic material into the soil. Millipedes usually find their way indoors after periods of heavy rain or drought.
Are Millipedes Dangerous?
They might look like something out of science fiction, but millipedes are more of a nuisance pest than an actual threat. Unlike other pests, they aren’t known for damaging property or spreading disease. They don’t bite or sting and are more likely to curl up into a ball to protect themselves. However, some millipedes have an odd defensive quirk that can be harmful.
When threatened, certain millipedes will secrete a hydrochloric acid fluid. This substance can cause irritation, chemical burns, and even discoloration of the skin. Contact with the eyes can be especially harmful. Not to mention, handling millipedes can also result in a foul odor lingering on the skin. Millipedes aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they should be handled with caution nonetheless.
How To Prevent Millipedes
While millipedes might not be especially dangerous, that doesn’t mean you want them in your house. There are a few things you can do to help prevent millipedes:
- Do some yard work. Remove any plant or tree debris that might attract millipedes like grass clippings, leaf piles, and woodpiles. Try to keep any decaying organic material from making direct contact with the house.
- Address moisture issues. Millipedes need lots of moisture to survive. Make sure that all gutters and drains are flowing properly and directing water away from your property. Check pipes, faucets, and spigots for leaks and repair as needed. Consider installing a dehumidifier or adding ventilation to your basement to reduce moisture from accumulating.
- Repair structural damage. Inspect your foundation for cracks, as well as gaps in expansion joints, and seal with caulking. Install or replace door sweeps on all doors leading outside.
- Clean up clutter. Millipedes are often found hiding beneath storage boxes and furniture kept in the basement. Clean and organize clutter to eliminate hiding spots, and if possible, try elevating heavy boxes and furniture off the basement floor by using wooden pallets or risers.
If you’re having trouble with millipedes, contact the experts at Alta Pest Control for assistance. We offer both residential pest control plans andcommercial pest control plans to eliminate millipedes and a variety of other common pests. Our family-owned and -operated business is dedicated to providing our customers with the best experience possible, and all of our services come 100% guaranteed. That means if you have pest problems in between scheduled treatments, we’ll return to take care of the problem at no cost to you. For relief from all your pest problems, get in touch with us today.