How to Get Rid of Millipedes and Everything Else You Need to Know
Australia is home to over 2000 millipede species, with many preferring the cover of night to feed on moss and moist leaf litter. While native millipedes play an essential role in maintaining the fragile biodiversity of our fragile forests, the Portuguese millipede is giving these many-legged crawlers a bad name. Shiny, black and quick to curl up into a spiral when threatened or excrete a caustic substance when agitated, the Portuguese Millipede can reach train-stopping proportions quickly. No, really, train-stopping. In 2002, the route between Melbourne and Ballarat had to be temporarily closed due to millions of dead millipedes oiling up the tracks. Services could only resume once the mushy mess was cleared.
Millipede 101: How many legs do millipedes have? Though their name suggests they have one thousand legs (milli means one thousand and pede means foot), millipedes are restricted to hundreds of legs, with the total number reliant on the species. Each body segment boasts around two pairs of legs, creating an instant point of difference from centipedes who only have one pair of legs per segment.
What is a Millipede?
Millipedes normally live outside, chowing down on decaying leaves, plants and other organic matter. Unlike other millipedes, they congregate in groups, leading to many incidents like the one highlighted above.
How to Prevent a Milipede Infestation in the House…
While we’ve established Portuguese Millipedes will have their way outside, what about inside? Millipedes struggle to survive inside human buildings – there’s nothing really for them to eat. They may leave on their own, but having too many at once, particularly if they’re excreting smelly, burning liquid, can be a recipe for irritation and occasionally disaster. Millipede control begins will keeping your lawn in shape, ensuring your lawn is under control and there’s no potential hiding places tempting millipedes to come closer to your exterior walls where they will find a way in. If you’re still struggling to keep the away after mowing, sealing and caulking up any cracks, it may be time to call in the professionals.
Millipede 101: Are millipedes poisonous? In the millipede vs. centipede stakes, centipedes win out on toxicity, as millipedes are classified as non-poisonous.
Do Millipedes Bite?
No. Millipedes are usually quite passive, preferring to flee than fight. Unlike centipedes, they don’t use a bite or venom to defend themselves or beat prey, subsisting on a diet of mulch, compost and dead leaves. If you think you’ve suffered a millipede bite, it’s probably a centipede – these close cousins can and do bite humans when provoked.
Some millipedes, including the Portuguese millipede, defend themselves without biting, releasing an acidic secretion from their glands. People may suffer from burning, irritation to the site or even an allergic reaction if they come into contact with this secretion. While millipedes can’t directly hurt us, their defence mechanism can be harmful and in rare cases fatal due to anaphylactic shock.
Impede the progress of any millipede invasion before they come crawling under your door. Protect your family from potential threats and contact Canberra Pest Control Today.