There are over 11000 documented species of millipedes globally. Millipedes have a rounded body with visible segments. They are black to reddish brown in color. They have legs attached on the underbelly of all the body segments except the first and last segments. They don’t move fast although they have many legs. They like living in damp dark places such as under rotting wood, rocks, deritus and leaves.
Millipedes don’t bite
Millipedes are not a threat to people. They are detritivores, this means they feed on rotting organic matter. They are found all over the world. The biggest more toxic species inhabit south pacific and the Caribbean. The larger the millipede is the higher the volume of toxins it emits. When the weather gets really hot millipedes will look for cool dark damp places and may wander into your home while doing so. They don’t cause any damage to your house and if you happen to find one in your home just sweep it outside using a broom. It is as simple as that.
When threatened Millipedes coil up in a ball to defend themselves but they don’t bite.
To fight against predators such as spiders and ants, millipedes emit a toxic fluid from their glands. Some larger species can spray toxins about three feet away if under threat. This toxin consists of hydrogen cyanide and hydrochloric acid which cause asphyxiation and burning effects on its predators. Millipedes emit this toxin in small amounts that are harmless to humans. In large amounts they are harmful to people.
If you touch a millipede coiled in defense when you put it down, your hand will have brown smear which will leave a stain even after being washed.
Though the emission from millipedes isn’t toxic to humans, there are people who are sensitive to it and even suffer allergies from it. These allergies present as redness, rash, itching, burning, and hives.
If you have come into contact with a millipede clean your skin using antibiotic soap and water, even if there is no toxin visible on you. This is just to take precautions to avoid potential allergic reaction.
If hives pop up on your skin after handling millipedes, thoroughly clean your skin with soap and tepid water. Apply oatmeal as a salve to soothe the hives.
Don’t touch your eyes before properly washing your hands if you have been in contact with Millipedes. If the toxins get into your eyes they could be corrosive to the eye tissues.
Though rare if you experience these severe allergic reactions to millipedes you should see a doctor quickly.
- difficulty breathing
- Facial swelling
- Rapid heart rate
- Rashes all over the body
Keep Millipedes outside the house
Make sure your home is dry. Since millipedes like moist environments when they are denied moisture they die quickly. So keeping a dry home is a good way to deter them.
Seal all possible entry points like window edges, cracks and crevices in the walls.
Replace the weather stripping around doors and windows.
Though millipedes don’t bite their toxins can cause skin irritation when handled.