What is a millipede? What is the difference between a millipede and a centipede? There are plenty of questions surrounding these odd-looking arthropods, and the biggest one is this: how do you get rid of them? Here’s what Charlotte homeowners should know about identifying millipedes, whether they’re dangerous, what attracts them to homes, and the best way to get rid of millipedes with professional pest control in Charlotte.

a millipede in a yard
a millipede on a table

Is This A Millipede?

Contrary to popular belief, millipedes are not insects; they are docile arthropods. They eat decomposing plant material and are often mistaken for centipedes, which are similar in appearance and behavioral traits. However, when it comes down to millipedes vs. centipedes in Charlotte, centipedes are carnivores, and millipedes only eat organic plant matter. Millipedes have long, segmented bodies and move around by crawling on their long legs. Their bodies have a long, cylindrical shape, and while coloring tends to vary, they’re often brown, black, or dark orange.

Despite their name meaning “one thousand,” millipedes do not have a thousand legs. Still, besides their eating habits, the main way to tell millipedes apart from centipedes is by the number of legs they have along with their placement. While millipedes have two pairs of legs per segment, centipedes only have one. This allows millipedes to have around 300 legs while centipedes average 100. Millipedes also move much slower than centipedes, who can dart from one area to the next for cover.

Some other key facts to understand about millipedes include:

  • Millipedes are considered a “docile” arthropod that does not bite, sting, or have pincers, but they can secrete a harmful compound that burns your skin.

  • Millipedes are often attracted to homes and properties with decomposing plant matter.

  • Female millipedes can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, which is why millipede problems and infestations tend to grow quickly.

  • When they feel threatened, millipedes coil their bodies into spirals rather than try to run or flee.

  • Millipedes are some of the longest living arthropods, and some species have lifespans of seven to ten years.

Are Millipedes In Charlotte Dangerous?

Millipedes may look odd, but are they dangerous, and how does a millipede protect itself? While they are often called “docile” or “low-risk”, that doesn’t mean that millipedes are completely harmless to people.

Millipedes aren’t aggressive and are unable to bite, but they can secrete a compound that can irritate human skin and eyes. The compound can create a burning sensation and may cause a little discomfort for a few minutes, but most millipede secretions aren’t dangerous. Since millipedes aren’t aggressive, they usually only use their secretions as a self-defense mechanism. If you poke at a millipede or pick one up, it’s likely they’ll emit their secretions.

If you’ve handled or picked up a millipede, there are a couple of signs that indicate you’ve been exposed to their defensive mechanism, including:

  • The skin starts to darken in places where you came in contact with the millipede

  • Skin blisters that develop afterward

  • Mild burning sensation and itching

  • Mild nausea

In rare cases where the secretion comes in contact with your eyes, the compound may cause inflammation of the eyelid or, in extremely rare cases, blindness. If secretion from a millipede does manage to make contact with your eyes or face, you should seek medical attention.

What Attracts Millipedes To Homes?

The biggest attraction for millipedes is food. Since they eat decomposing plant matter, these pests may be drawn to compost piles, garbage bins, or leaf piles on your property. Millipedes also appreciate homes with high humidity and moisture, like crawlspaces, basements, or garages. They can sometimes enter a home because they’re looking for shelter, and if your place has a lot of moisture and a little decomposing plant matter, these pests aren’t likely to leave anytime soon.

The Best Way To Get Rid Of Millipedes For Good

Even though millipedes aren’t usually dangerous, they can be harmful and invasive. There are plenty of reasons to deal with a millipede swarm around your Charlotte home. And, when it comes to getting rid of millipedes, a professional residential pest control company like Go-Forth Pest Control can provide easy and affordable ways to permanently rid your property of these pests.

If you’re spotting millipedes around your home or property, don’t try to handle them on your own. Instead, contact us at Go-Forth Pest Control to learn more about our millipede pest control services and how we can help you.


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