How to Get Rid of Millipedes | St. Petersburg, FL

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Millipedes have been here long before we have. In fact, millipedes are some of the oldest creatures on the planet. They look like insects but they are arthropods and belong to the same family as shrimp and lobsters. The word “millipede” means “a thousand feet” but these arthropods don’t really have a thousand feet. Most millipede species actually have less than a hundred legs. But it doesn’t really matter if they have 20 legs or a 100 legs, when they get into our homes they can be quite annoying and disruptive. Find out more below about what millipedes are and how you can get rid of millipedes in your St. Petersburg home. 

Identifying Millipedes

Millipedes have segmented bodies with each segment containing two sets of legs. Millipedes look very different from their centipede cousins, which have one set of legs per segment that stick out to the body's sides. A lot of people can’t tell the difference between a centipede vs millipede but there are some noticeable differences:

  • Millipedes: have two pairs of legs per body segment and are more often found in homes
  • Centipedes: their legs are more visible, and they are typically more active than millipedes

Do Millipedes Bite?

Unlike centipedes, millipedes do not bite or pose any threat to humans. They strictly feed on decaying organic matter such as dead leaves and wood. They play a critical role in the ecosystem by helping to decompose organic matter. When threatened, millipedes curl up into a ball. When attacked by a predator, such as spiders or ants, they can emit a toxin from glands located in each of their body segments.

Common Types of Millipedes in Florida

There are an estimated 7,000 species of millipede in the world of which 1,400 can be found in the United States and Canada. But only three species of millipede are typically found in Florida.

  • Yellow Banded Millipede 
  • Red Rusty Millipede 
  • Greenhouse Millipede 

Yellow Banded Millipede

Yellow Banded Millipedes are born with bright yellow bands that fade to gray as they get older. This is the most common millipede in Florida and is often found dead in homes or crawling on walls. 

Rusty Millipede

The Rusty Millipede is not as much of a pest than the yellow-banded variety. Like all millipedes, it feeds on decaying plant matter and prefers moist shady areas. Rusty millipedes are an invasive pest native to southeast Asia.

Greenhouse Millipede

Nearly any homeowner who maintains a garden or has planted a tree in Florida has likely encountered these small millipedes. Greenhouse millipedes are about an inch long. Like earthworms, they help to aerate the soil and break down organic wastes which return nutrients to the soil.

How Do Millipedes Get Into My House?

In nature, millipedes spend almost all their lives in moist, dark areas, such as under rocks or logs. They start to become a nuisance in the winter when the colder weather forces them to seek warmth inside. Once inside your home, they will overwinter until warm temperatures return. This is why millipedes seem to invade homes in warmer months.

Most millipedes move into homes in September and October and again in mid spring. Infestations are usually confined to cellars and crawl spaces especially after a period of wet weather. Millipedes need moisture to survive so they will seek out dark damp areas of your home. 

How To Get Rid Of Millipedes

As we have mentioned above, millipedes depend on moisture or they will die. Without water, a millipede can only survive a day or two. The best way to prevent millipedes from getting into your home and surviving is by eliminating dampness in your home. Other ways to prevent a millipede invasion is to:

  • Check for leaky pipes 
  • Consider getting a dehumidifier
  • Seal cracks and crevices in the foundation and around where utilities enter the home.
  • Clean out gutters.  
  • Rake your yard and keep organic plant matter away from your home

Millipede Control in St. Petersburg, Florida

If you are having trouble with millipedes, spiders, rodents, or any other pest in your St. Petersburg home, call the expert at Anti-Pesto Bug Killers. We are a family-run and operated business that has been serving our fellow Floridians for over 30 years. Check out our local pest control in St. Petersburg or call us today at 813-518-8807 for expert pest treatments.

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