How Much Do You Really Know About The Millipedes In Charlotte?

May 29, 2020

Watching a parade of prehistoric-looking segmented arthropods crawling slowly across your path can make you feel like you have entered some sort of zombie apocalypse. In truth, these invertebrates are a misunderstood species, even their name is often misunderstood. There are over one thousand species of millipedes in the United States alone, each with a different range of traits and a different number of legs (and none of them reach the thousand their name would imply). Most millipedes have between thirty and ninety pairs of legs. The leggiest of these, Illacme plenipes, can have more than 333 pairs.

a millipede curlled upon a patio

Centipede Versus Millipede

Many people confuse Charlotte millipedes with centipedes. Once legs reach the hundreds, who can keep count? A quick way to tell is to look at the sets of legs. Centipedes have only one pair of legs per body section versus the millipedes double set. Also, centipedes tend to be flat while millipedes are more cylindrical and in some places are known as “wire worms." This nickname can cause further confusion as click beetles' larvae are known as wire worms as well. Millipedes are typically dark brown in color with a hard outer skin. They roll into a tight coil when disturbed and range in length from one to four inches.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Millipedes often go unnoticed as they make themselves comfortable under leaves, rocks, and other places that provide a cool damp habitat out of sight. That being said, on the occasion that they enter structures in great numbers, they can cause a lot of alarm. As unsettling as an influx of millipedes can be, they do not cause damage to buildings. They actually can't even survive for very long in the dry atmosphere of most buildings. Millipedes in your home are more of an annoyance than anything else. They feed on decomposing organic matter and will occasionally damage seedling plants by feeding on leaves, stems, and roots. Millipedes don’t bite, but they can produce an irritating fluid that can irritate eyes, blister skin, and cause allergic reactions in venom-sensitive people. In general the risks associated with coming in contact with these pests are minimal.

Proven Prevention

While millipedes are not the most dangerous of pests, they aren’t most people’s idea of the best house guests, either. You can work to prevent millipedes from entering your home in a few simple ways. First, remove piles of compost or grass clippings from your property. Trim shrubs and other plants away from your home’s foundation and patio to promote air circulation and allow additional drying. Repair cracks in your home’s foundation and caulk around basement windows and entryways.
 
One thing to be cautious of is the use of weed prevention barriers. Using a border of river gravel or other mulching over a blanket of plastic sheeting creates ideal conditions for millipedes to thrive. In fact, the plastic sheeting prevents pesticides from reaching the millipedes altogether. Removing these barriers reduces soil moisture and increases temperatures, making the habitat less attractive to millipedes and allowing pesticides to be effective. Always keep in mind that pesticides are poisonous to more than just the pests they target. Follow safety precautions on labels and keep containers out of reach of children, pets, and livestock.

Help Is Standing By

Whether millipedes or some other pest has backed you in a corner, Aruza pest control is standing by and ready to help. With twenty years of combined experience in the pest control industry and a money-back guarantee, you can’t go wrong with our services. We are focused on providing customers the highest level of service. Our knowledgeable and highly-trained specialists will eliminate your pest problems for good.

Tags: pest prevention | home pest control | millipedes |

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