The Millipede

Like all other pests, even millipedes are capable of infesting your homes. While they may not bite people or even damage food items, they are still capable of secreting a liquid that acts as a defense mechanism and causes some irritation to the skin. So what are these insects like and why do they infest homes? Let us have a detailed look at the millipede and the infestation they cause.

What Does A Millipede Look Like?

How to Get Rid of Millipedes, Millipedes in House

How to Get Rid of Millipedes

As their name suggests, millipedes look like they have a million legs attached to their body. They are black in color and when threatened they may turn into a tight circle to protect themselves. As mentioned, these insects never bite but they do emit substances that can cause severe irritation in the skin. Even though they are similar to worms, they actually belong to the arthropods which indicate that they have an exoskeleton.

When a millipede is born, he has as less as six legs which eventually grow up to an enormous figure of two hundred. Despite some relation between centipedes and millipedes, they have many differences. They can also be a minimum of 2 millimeters and a maximum of 300 millimeters in their length. There may be species which are smaller like the bristly millipedes.

These creatures prefer living outdoors and are huge fans of moisture and damp areas. Most people find millipedes in their garden lawns or even in their flowerbeds. They also eat decayed and dead leaves to support themselves. During fall, these insects are known to migrate out of their homes as a preparation for winter. This is how they enter homes and other properties.

Millipedes are also creatures of the night and come in large numbers. This causes a lot of trouble to the people whose homes have been severely infested.


Millipedes are outdoor creatures who prefer living in moist and damp locations. However, sometimes they find a way inside to cause an infestation due to extreme weather conditions. Inside they hide within boxes filled with items or even furniture.

Millipedes are often spotted on patios or porches and soon start seeking for entryways to get inside. They may get inside using the windows and doors in your basement or other crawl spaces such as vents. Garage doors also happen to be great places for them to enter.


Millipede on Stone Floor, Millipedes in House


If the number of millipedes in your house is manageable, a good solution to deal with them would be vacuuming the walls along with the floor. If the infestation is in a critical stage then it is important for you to get professional help from a pest control company.

These companies will visit the site of infestation to carry out a thorough inspection. This includes determining the entry point for the millipedes. Based on this information, the professional is going to come up with a plan and this may include deciding between chemical and organic methods.

The organic method involves taking care of the prevention aspect of the infestation. It includes sealing up spots which act as potential sources of entry for millipedes. The professional may also use chemicals to get rid of these pests.

Life Cycle of Millipedes

Millipedes have three stages in their life cycle, these are, eggs, nymphs, and adults. All adult millipedes mate provided that they are healthy and fit.

Female millipedes can lay up to one hundred eggs at one time. These eggs take approximately three months to hatch.

The nymphs emerging out of the eggs hardly ever resemble adult millipedes. They don’t have too many segments of bodies and their legs are limited to 3-4 pairs. This stage is extremely fragile and anyone handling them must be careful. At this stage, the nymphs molt which basically means replacement of old exoskeletons with new ones. Millipedes take 2 to 5 years to grow into adults.

The average lifespan of a millipede is usually around 7 years.

Purpose of Millipedes in the Ecosystem

Millipedes are arthropods and belong to the class of diplopods. These creatures have been present on Earth for nearly 400 million years. They have undergone extensive evolution like all other creatures belonging to the time of the Silurian period and even the Paleozoic era. Even though they can be found in any part of the world, they are specifically abundant in the tropical regions. Despite their rich history, do they have a purpose?

An important function of these creatures is that millipedes feed on decaying and dead leaves which helps replenish the nutrients in the soil. A lot of predators eat millipedes including turtles and frogs.

Therefore, millipedes play their role in forests by returning the nutrients to the soil and helping it become more fertile. They also form part of the food chain and act as an important food source for others.

Millipede Facts

  • Millipedes actually do not possess a thousand legs. They may have two hundred legs at the most.
  • These millipedes also have several body segments and have two legs on each such segment.
  • They also lay their eggs inside nests. Isn’t that fascinating? And while most arthropods live very short lives, they live for 7 whole years.

These interesting facts make these creatures special and fun to study. However, they may not be nice when they infest your homes. If you recognize severe signs of infestations, contact a local exterminator and take professional help.

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