How To Keep Millipedes Away From Your Austin Home
September 30, 2021
Millipedes are known for their long segmented bodies and many legs. While their name translates to a thousand legs, they don’t actually have that many. Although some species can have over 700 legs, this is rare, and in Texas, you will most likely encounter species with up to 100 legs.
Each body segment has two pairs of legs compared to centipedes, with only one pair per segment. Scientists often use the nape Diplopoda for millipedes as it means “double foot” because of this major distinction between this insect and other arthropods. However, other characteristics of millipedes align with arthropods, such as their hard exoskeleton, jointed legs, and segmented body. Millipedes also have a round-worm-like boy as opposed to centipedes that have a flat one.
While these creepy crawly critters can be an unwelcome sight in your home, they are essential to the ecosystem. Millipedes spend most of their time underground and under leaves, decomposing organic matter and helping return nutrients to the earth. Decomposers like millipedes are essential to a healthy environment. This is also why they prefer to remain outdoors. Inside a residential home, there are not many options as far as food goes. However, they may seek shelter in extreme weather conditions. These conditions can include heavy rain, period of drought, and cold temperatures.
Although millipedes are considered occasional invaders, meaning they are not a common home-invading pest, you should still know more about them as an Austin resident. Below you can find out if millipedes are dangerous and how you can prevent them in your home.
Are Millipedes A Problem?
In general, millipedes are considered a nuisance pest because they are not harmful to people or cause property damage. Many species of millipedes do contain hydrochloric acid, which can chemically burn skin and leave discoloration. However, the amount of toxins these insects emit is not enough for millipedes to be considered poisonous to people, but the toxin can be in large quantities.
Although the toxin produced by most millipedes is not enough to be poisonous to people, it is advised to avoid skin contact. Holding or touching a millipede can cause skin irritation and some discoloration. It can also be dangerous if the fluids produced by millipedes come into contact with your eyes.
While millipedes are not necessarily dangerous, their presence in your home can mean you have an underlying moisture issue. Once inside, they will make their way to dark and damp areas like basements and crawlspaces. Because these critters eat decaying organic matter, their presence can also mean water damage, rotting wood, or other material in your home. Millipedes won’t destroy your home like other pests such as termites and rodents, but the leaks and rotting materials attracting them can.
Can I Prevent Millipedes?
You can implement several tips around your home to keep them from infesting when it comes to millipedes. These tips include:
Seal cracks in the foundation of your home, including the gaps around wiring and plumbing.
Fix any leaks, making sure to replace any water-damaged materials.
Use dehumidifiers to keep the air dry, especially in basements and crawlspaces.
Make sure your home has proper ventilation to reduce humidity.
Keep your yard free of debris such as leaves and other decaying plant matter.
The last and best tip for preventing millipedes in Austin is to contact Bella Bugs for more advice or assistance. Bella Bugs are trusted pest control professionals that can assist you with all your home pest control or commercial pest management needs. Give us a call today to find out more!