What Austin Property Owners Ought To Know About Millipedes
September 15, 2020
Let’s play a game. Pretend that you and your cousin are living in the same town, and even working in the same office. Every time you go in, people call you by your cousin’s name. And every time your cousin walks by, you hear people call them by your name. That would be frustrating, right? Well, that’s probably how centipedes and millipedes feel. They’re from the same family, but they’re very different. And yet, they get thrown together and treated as the same insect.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…who cares? It may not seem to matter. However, the more you know about millipedes (and how they differ from centipedes), the more you’ll be able to keep them out of your house.
While millipedes and centipedes may be in the same family, they differ in many ways, including appearance. Think of a millipede like a series of segmented cylinders, a large string of loosely connected cans. They are also typically grey, black, or brown in color. The centipede, on the other hand, is much flatter, lacking any sort of segmentation. Their color ranges from gray and brown to red or tan. When disturbed, centipedes are very quick to scurry away. Their cousins, on the other hand, are more of the “play dead” kind of pests. When disturbed, millipedes will coil into a tiny ball to protect their vital organs.
Like in every family, there is an aggressive cousin and a more docile one. The millipede is the unassuming vegetarian: only feeding on decaying plants and, if necessary, decaying insects. Centipedes, however, are the fighters, using poisonous claws (although harmless to humans) to kill other insects.
A few things they do have in common are when and where they enjoy hanging out. Most centipedes and millipedes will have their main nesting areas under the house. They prefer dark, moist areas, so they frequent bathrooms and basements. They are also largely dormant during the day and stick with a nocturnal lifestyle. If you see a millipede in your house during the day, that’s a pretty good sign of an infestation.
Issues With Infestation
It’s true that millipedes are the docile cousins, and they really aren’t a threat to humans. However, millipede secretions can cause injury and irritation for most humans. If a millipede were to crawl on your skin, you might develop a rash as an allergic reaction. You also run the risk of severe eye irritation if the secretion is transferred from your skin to your eye. That’s why it’s essential to wash your hands after coming into contact with a millipede.
While these nuisance pests don’t spread serious diseases like many others, there are a few things you can do to avoid an infestation. Try to control moisture in all areas of the house. This includes getting proper ventilation in crawlspaces and basements to ensure moisture reduction. You’ll also want to make sure all entry points are sealed up. Make sure there is proper caulking in the windowsills, weatherstripping under all of the doors, and that all screens on windows are properly secured and undamaged.
If you’re thinking that securing entry points and properly ventilating your crawlspaces sounds a little intimidating (and time-consuming), you’re right. Instead of going through all of that trouble, why don’t you contact the professionals at Bella Bugs for more advice and assistance? When you consider the fact that do-it-yourself pest control almost always results in wasted time and money, then trusting the pros is really a no-brainer. Reach out to us today for help with keeping these "cousins" out of your home. Learn more about our home pest control and commercial pest control solutions.