If you’re like most Central Indiana homeowners, you probably don’t worry much about the critters that live outside of your home. But one day, you walk into your living room or pull down your bedsheets and suddenly our realize that the multi-legged creatures from the outside have decided to come inside to visit you.
It’s especially disturbing when you suddenly notice that millipedes have far too many legs and now make your home look like it has suddenly become the stage for a bad science-fiction show. But don’t worry, because you can get the kind of professional pest-control help that will quickly have your home free of the plague of millipedes.
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Five Facts About Millipedes
While many people don’t realize it, millipedes are not, in fact, insects. They are a group of arthropods, of the class diploda. As a unique type of creature, millipedes have many unusual and interesting features.
- Millipedes are some of the oldest land animals on earth. They first appeared during the Silurian era, over 400 million years ago and have endured, largely unchanged, up into the present.
- Unlike centipedes, millipedes have two legs on each body segment, which gives them their somewhat creepy look. Fortunately, this makes it easy to tell the difference between millipedes and centipedes, since many centipedes have a venomous bite.
- The term millipede means a thousand feet in Latin. But amusingly enough, no known millipede species has 1,000 feet. The closest they get to that number is the Illaceme plenipes, with its 750 legs. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about running into that particular millipede, since it lives in central California.
- Millipedes cannot bite their enemies, and so most millipedes have to resort to curling up into a tight ball, presenting their hard chitin to whatever is trying to eat them. They literally hide their heads and hope the world leaves them alone!
- Ancient millipedes were far larger than modern ones. In fact, the largest known millipedes were over six feet long! Fortunately, our millipedes are quite a bit smaller.
What Types of Millipedes Can You Find in Central Indiana?
The most common types of millipedes that are found in Central Indiana come from the order Polydesmida, which is, in fact, the largest order of all millipedes. There are over 3500 species included in this order, many of which live in the state, although some of them are restricted to small areas. Unless you’re a professional, it’s likely that you won’t notice the difference between the various species, especially when they’re crawling into your home.
What are the Health Risks of Millipedes To Your Family and Pets?
Fortunately, millipedes are not equipped with a dangerous bite or sting. Some of them do have irritating oils that they can secrete to discourage predators, but those are not dangerous to people or pets. That being said, some of them produce a foul odor when crushed, and they can make the ground slippery, especially when they come swarming onto your floor to get crushed. In fact, the biggest threat to your health is the potential for a nasty slip and fall accident caused by the crushed and slippery remains of the millipedes. You shouldn’t feel silly about that since, in some parts of the world, trains have been delayed by the need to clean the tracks of the countless crushed millipedes that would otherwise make the tracks dangerously slippery.
Although millipedes are not directly dangerous to pets, they can easily infest your pet’s bedding, which can lead to the pet becoming stressed over its unwelcome companions. In some cases, this can cause the pets to become irritated and lead to unwelcome behaviors such as defecating in various parts of the house.
What Kind of Damage Can Millipedes Do To Your Property and Home?
Even if millipedes can’t hurt you, they can do more than enough damage to your home to make them very unwelcome house guests indeed. While most millipedes are detritivores, in other words, feeding on decaying plant matter, others feed on living plants and an infestation of millipedes can be quite destructive to gardens, crops and even interior plants. A swarm of millipedes can quickly reduce your prize-winning garden to a mess of dying and infested plants.
Also, millipedes can infest laundry, paper, and other products, and when they’re crushed, they’ll leave stains and an unpleasant odor behind. One of these critters may not be a problem, but when you have hundreds or thousands in your home, they can quickly turn your pristine interior into an unsightly mess. Because millipedes are attracted to damp areas, they can quickly move into your kitchen and bathrooms, getting into food products, clothes and making for a very unwelcome surprise when you come walking into your bathroom, only to find out that you’ve just stepped on dozens of these pests.
While you can sweep them up, that doesn’t eliminate the underlying problem that has the millipedes coming into your house. For a long-term solution to the infestation you’re facing, you’ll need a professional millipede treatment service.
How to Keep Millipedes Out of Your Home
There are some common things that you can do to try and minimize the chance of a gang of millipedes coming by to visit your home. Because most millipedes eat decaying plant matter, keeping your home and property clear of that material can help discourage millipedes from accumulating. If you have piles of plant cuttings that are close to your home, you’re setting out a welcome sign for all the millipedes in the neighborhood.
Millipedes prefer damp, dark areas, which means that you want to keep your house clean and dry. Piles of cardboard, old laundry, and other materials can all provide a hiding place for millipedes. They can also serve as hiding places for venomous spiders, so be careful when you clean them up!
Finally, millipedes get into a home via openings under doors, through windows, vents, and crawlspaces. You need to ensure that your house is a tightly sealed as possible. Make certain that the weather stripping is intact and that windows and doors can all be shut tightly. Checking your external vents is also an excellent idea, and you may want to close the vents when you’re not using them so that they don’t serve as a convenient opening for any intruding millipedes. Fortunately, a millipede treatment service will include a survey of your home to determine how to keep future infestations from becoming a problem.
What To Do If You Have a Millipede Infestation
If despite doing everything you can, you find out that you’ve become host to an infestation of millipedes, it’s time to call in the professionals. We can help determine where the millipedes are coming from, and how to get rid of them for good. More importantly, professional pest-control technicians have the training and experience to use a wide variety of methods to get rid of millipedes in a safe and convenient manner. For this reason, once you’re facing an infestation of millipedes, it’s time to call in the experts so that you can get on with your bug-free life.