- Color: brown or black; but some species are orange or red.
- Size: 5/8-inch to 4 inches in length.
- Most species are long, cylindrical, many-segmented, worm-like creatures, however, a few millipedes appear to be flattened.
- Millipedes have two pairs of legs attached to each apparent body segment.
- The young initially have only three pairs of legs and seven segments.
Habits of Millipedes:
- Females lay their eggs in nests in the soil which hatch after several weeks.
- Developmental time (egg to adult): typically two years; some, however, require four or five years.
- Life span of adults: several years.
- Most species overwinter as adults or young.
- Movement to indoor areas typically results from standing water in their natural habitat, drought and/or their natural migratory and mating instincts.
- They usually die within a few days of entering a structure unless there is a source of high moisture and a food supply.
- They are active at night.
- As scavengers, they feed on decaying organic matter.
Damage Caused by Millipedes:
- Millipedes become structural pests and a major annoyance when they invade homes and other structures, sometimes in staggering numbers.
- Most species produce a foul smelling fluid that comes out the sides of their bodies which is toxic to some insects and small animals and which can cause blisters on human skin.
- Millipedes outdoors where there is moisture and decaying organic matter, e.g., under trash, grass clippings, mulch, rotting firewood, leaf litter, etc.
- Large populations which typically build up tremendous populations in forest litter and compost heaps.
How to Control and Kill Millipedes:
- Moist harborages, such as wood debris, rocks, grass clippings, and leaf litter, decaying and other accumulations of organic material should be removed.
- Firewood should be stored off the ground.
- The lawn should be kept dethatched, mowed, and edged in order to promote drying and watered in the morning in order to promote drying by the afternoon.
- Flower beds should not be over-mulched.
- Entry into buildings should be prevented by sealing and caulking gaps around siding, windows, doors, pipes, wires, etc.
- Large numbers of these structure-invading pests can be easily controlled by vacuuming and discarding the collected material.