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What You Should Know About Millipedes

Narceus Americanus

The Eastern American Millipede is a creature often overlooked when homeowners think about pests.  Today, we want to educate our Rochester friends and clients on millipedes and what seeing them around your property means. 

What Is a Millipede?

Millipedes come from a Greek term meaning “many feet.”  They can look like earthworms at first, but look closer and you’ll see so many tiny legs underneath, all moving as one.  Millipedes also have light segmented armor on their backs that they will use as protection. 

You'll find millipedes living in places like woodpiles, leaf litter, and moist, decaying plant matter.  Forests, farms, and gardens are perfect homes for millipedes.  If you go into your basement, check under furniture, or lift something and see millipedes, that’s an indication that you have too much moisture and decay in your space.  The millipedes will leave when that is corrected. 

Millipedes are not so much a problem in themselves as they are an indicator that your structural integrity is amiss.  This also means that other pests now have a better home in your space, as so many other pests like the same conditions that millipedes do. 

Is It a Millipede or a Centipede?

Millipedes and centipedes are often confused for each other, but there are some important differences:

  • Millipedes have a lot more legs that go straight down beneath them.  Centipedes have many legs, but far fewer than millipedes, and they stick outward from their bodies.
  • Centipedes can bite painfully, but millipedes are passive and generally harmless, though you should wash your hands if you handle one.
  • Centipedes will run away from danger, but while a millipede might run away, it is more likely to curl up tightly and rely on its armor for protection until the threat leaves.
  • Millipedes are usually dark-colored and dull.  Centipedes are often drab-colored as well, but there are some that sport brighter colors like red and yellow. 
  • Millipedes eat the decaying plant matter they live in.  Centipedes like those environments too, but they are predators that feed on other arthropods, like roaches and bedbugs.

What can Rochester homeowners take away from this?  If you see the occasional millipede or centipede in rotting logs or in the garden, don’t worry about it.  Let them go on their way.  The occasional small house centipede isn’t an issue either, though they are creepy—no pun intended.  But if there are too many for your liking, and if you see millipedes in your house, that means conditions are right for them and other pests, and that should be attended to by the pros. 

Millipede Prevention

Contact Rochester Pest Pro to check out structural weaknesses that encourage pest activity.  We’ve repeated many times that moisture and decay are huge draws for pests.  We are trained in identifying where and how pests are taking advantage of these conditions. 

We practice integrative pest management, a process that addresses the problem from diagnosis to follow-up maintenance.  We offer Rochester pest control services with the integrity and diligence we want for ourselves.  Call or write us anytime.  Thinking about a prosperous career in pest control?  Check out this page to join our team