Why Are Millipedes in My House?
June 07, 2023
If you’ve ever seen tiny worm-like insects in your home with a million legs, first, stay calm, and second, understand that they are not worms or insects, they’re millipedes!
Millipedes, like most pests, have been around longer than humans. In fact, according to many researchers, millipedes were the first living land animal! They have 2 pairs of legs per segment, unlike centipedes (which have one pair of legs per segment).
Millipedes are small worm-like detritivores with about a million legs and are typically in the “uncertain” category of pests in regards to harmful vs. harmless pests. In truth, millipedes are harmless, but you still don’t want to mess with them too much. If you alarm them, they can secrete an irritating substance.
While you may be tempted to call them insects or worms, they are arthropods, more closely related to shellfish.
And while millipedes are an important species, that doesn’t mean they belong in your home. Continue reading this blog to learn all about millipedes and what to do about a millipede infestation in Miami, FL.
What Kinds of Millipedes Are in Miami, FL?
There are about 12,000(!) species of millipedes in the world and about 50 are found in Florida. If you’re talking about the most common millipede species in Miami, there are three.
The most common millipede in Miami is the North American millipede, also called the “rust millipede” and the “iron millipede.” This species has a dark brown body with deep red stripes.
Other common millipedes in Miami are the Florida ivory millipede and the yellow-banded millipede. The yellow-banded millipede is often called the “bumblebee millipede” and can release the irritating substance we mentioned, but monkeys in the Miami-Dade Zoo have been found rubbing these millipedes on their fur, using the secretion as an insect repellent.
Why as an insect repellent? An ingredient found in millipede secretion has actually been used in pest control products. This means millipedes aren’t just nature’s garbage disposal, they’re actually considered a form of nature’s pest control!
So millipedes aren’t *all* bad, but they are annoying. And creepy, and gross. Let’s go over some more common FAQs we get from customers about millipedes.
Do Millipedes Bite?
Customers often ask us if millipedes bite, or if millipedes can hurt you. The short answer is no, they will not bite, and they will not hurt you. While they can look a little scary, especially if you’ve never seen one, they’re not harmful to humans.
With this in mind, it is still not recommended to just pick up a millipede with your bare hands or poke it with a stick like it’s an alien - even though they look like aliens.
Why shouldn’t you pick up a millipede if they’re harmless? If they feel threatened, millipedes can release a substance that can be irritating to the skin, and painful in the eyes. So if you do touch or pick up a millipede, avoid rubbing your eyes and make sure you wash your hands after.
Centipedes, on the other hand, will bite and sting, so it’s important to understand the key differences between centipedes and millipedes. Luckily, they look vastly different.
Millipedes have two sets of legs per body segment, which are directly under their bodies. Centipedes only have one pair of legs per body segment on the sides of their bodies. So if you see a creature that looks like it could be a centipede or a millipede, can you distinctly see the legs sticking out? If so, it’s a centipede. If the legs are hidden underneath the body, it’s a millipede.
One more key difference is that millipedes are much more cryptic than centipedes. They tend to move slowly, hide from humans, and curl up in a little ball. They’re shy creatures and in truth, they’re just minding their own business and don’t want to bother you.
Centipedes move much faster and don’t hide quite like millipedes. They’re common in nature, which is why the most common centipede “victims” are gardeners.
What Do Millipedes Eat?
Millipedes are detritivores, also known as decomposers. What’s in their diet? Dead. They eat dead leaves, dead wood, and dead organisms. As long as it’s dead, they love it and they’ll eat it. This makes them important in the ecosystem; they’re basically living garbage disposals.
What Attracts Millipedes?
Since millipedes are decomposers, they are attracted to any dead, decaying matter. In your yard, this could include dead leaves on the ground, dead or dying plants and trees, or dead insects.
They prefer to be outdoors, but infestations in homes are also common, especially in cases of bad weather. If they get inside, millipedes will flock to dark, moist areas of your home such as attics or crawl spaces.
How to Get Rid of Millipedes in Miami, FL
The best first step to getting rid of millipedes is analyzing the moisture levels in your home and finding ways to reduce the moisture.
You can eliminate humidity in your home by installing a dehumidifier, turning up the air conditioning, taking colder showers, and repairing any leaks.
One important way to monitor your humidity is by checking your gutters. Gutters can cause moisture to build up and can even cause indoor leaks. Clean your gutters regularly to clear standing water and inspect them for leaks. Make sure the downspout of your gutter is turned away and is 6 feet from your home.
Another way to get rid of millipedes is to millipede-proof your yard. This involves eliminating their food sources, so you just have to rake up dead leaves and remove dead or dying trees, tree stumps, logs, and plants. Basically, just look for anything dead in your yard and get rid of it. Think of it as a lawn beautification project!
If you’ve done the preventative measures to keep millipedes out of your home, you can try applying natural products for millipede control like diatomaceous earth, boric acid, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and cayenne pepper. Just note that boric acid and tea tree oil are not safe for pets and should be avoided if you have pets in your home.
Otherwise, diatomaceous earth, peppermint oil, and cayenne pepper are 100% pet friendly pest control ingredients and are effective in repelling millipedes in Miami.
If you try everything and you’re still finding millipedes in your home, don’t lose hope. Instead, leave it to Native Pest Management.
Professional Millipede Control in Miami, FL
Pest control is tricky and with the warm, humid climate here, there is no exception when it comes to millipedes in Miami. The moisture makes it increasingly difficult to get rid of millipedes, so in that case, the best thing for you to do may be to reach out to professional pest control.
Native Pest Management is a top rated pest control company in Miami that specializes in nuisance household pests like millipedes. Our certified experts know exactly what to do when these sneaky creatures are crawling around your space.
We offer a complete quarterly home pest control service that can prevent and get rid of millipedes, centipedes, ants, American cockroaches, drain flies, earwigs, spiders, pantry pests, and silverfish. With Native Pest Management, you’ll find peace of mind not just from the millipede control but also from pest control for other common pests in Miami.
Millipedes aren’t dangerous or bad for the environment (in fact they’re the opposite), but that doesn’t mean they belong in your home. By signing up for millipede control included in our home pest control package, you’ll finally be able to relax knowing these creepy crawlers are just a memory.
If you’re ready to say goodbye to millipedes and say hello to a peaceful, pest free space, reach out to Native Pest Management. With over 3,000 five-star reviews, the success of our millipede control is guaranteed.
Contact us today to request your FREE quote so that you can get millipedes out of your home for good!