It’s probably fair to say that most gardeners are fond of worms. After all, they are the hardworking, low-maintenance workhouses of high-quality soil. So, what is it about a millipede, sometimes called an iron worm, that sends shivers down the spine? Most garden-variety millipedes do the same thing that earthworms do. So what’s the difference? Keep reading to learn more about the North American millipede, what might cause a millipede infestation, and how to practice millipede pest control.
How To Identify Millipedes
The North American millipede is the most common variety in South Portland. It is typically no bigger than an inch but can grow to over four inches. Its worm-like body is hard and green with red bands along its length. Per each band, there are two legs per side. The longer the millipede, the more legs, though no millipede exists today with one thousand legs as its name suggests.
An egg is a small off white sphere. Females can lay several hundred of them at a time in moist soil. Nymphs, or millipede young, are also off-white and worm-like, with a few barely discernible legs. In terms of common backyard pests, the millipede actually has a fairly long life cycle from birth to maturation. After the eggs are laid, they may take weeks to hatch. From there, nymphs may take up to two months to fully mature. Adult millipedes can live up to five years.
Most likely, you won’t even see a millipede or their young unless you get lucky (or unlucky) while you’re digging, or unless you have a lot of them. For the most part, they’re harmless, but a millipede infestation may destroy your seeds and seedlings.
Are Millipedes In South Portland Venomous?
The old legend that millipedes are more venomous the more legs they have is nothing more than an old wive’s tale. You don’t even have to worry about a millipede bite as they do not bite or sting. As to the question, is a millipede dangerous? That’s a little more complicated. Millipedes do release a toxin to deter predators. They can spray this toxin almost three feet away, and for some, this could cause an allergic reaction.
Even for those who are not allergic, if the toxin gets on the skin, it can cause staining, burning, itching, and blisters. Getting the toxin in the eyes might warrant a visit to the doctor, though this is unlikely. So, is a millipede dangerous? While it’s not an aggressive or venomous pest and a millipede bite is next to impossible, it can still harm you if you handle it, so they are best left alone or to millipede control professionals. If you do happen to touch or hold a millipede, be sure to wash your hands immediately afterward.
What Attracts Millipedes To South Portland Homes?
Millipedes love moisture, darkness, and cool temperatures where there is an abundance of decaying organic matter to eat. Because these factors are fairly easy to identify and control, millipede control can be relatively simple. To prevent a millipede infestation or to reduce their numbers in your yard and garden, try these tips:
Remove mulch and debris around the foundation of your home, including leaves, grass, wooden boards, stones, and boxes.
Repair any cause of excess moisture by clearing gutters, repairing pipes, and fixing landscaping issues.
Trim your lawn often, dethatch as necessary, and don’t overwater.
If you have an abundance of millipedes, it may be an indication that the moisture level of your soil is too high. If there are foundational issues around your home and yard that prevent you from controlling this, a residential pest control professional can help.
How To Get Rid Of Millipedes For Good
For fast, safe, and effective millipede pest control in South Portland, you can trust Big Blue Bug Solutions. As pest professionals, our job is to understand why pests are attracted to your home. Assessing for risk factors and giving advice and educational materials will help prevent future pest problems and ensure treatments work. If you have a millipede problem and don’t know what’s causing it, Big Blue Bug Solutions can help.
Sometimes millipedes can travel in large numbers, and if your garden is the victim, there’s not much to help it except for pest control. In other cases where you’ve done your best to modify your home to be unattractive to millipedes and are still losing your seedlings, we can help determine a cause. For long-term bug support and treatment, call Big Blue Bug Solutions.