They kind of look like worms, but they have legs – a lot of them. Kind of sort of like a caterpillar, but not fuzzy at all. The mystery bug that bugs so many people this time of year is the millipede. A member of the phylum Arthropoda, the humble millipede is a very distant cousin to the more familiar and much more respected arthropod, the lobster. Well, that’s kind of a stretch. In fact, in Tempco’s history, we can confidently say that we’ve never gotten a call to remove lobsters from the front entry way, but millipedes, well, yes. We get hundreds of calls about them.
Millipedes have multisegmented body parts that kind of look like a long coat of armor with jointed legs on almost every segment. They like to hang around in mulch beds eating decaying leaves and plant matter. They are generally harmless, but when the summer rains come, they can become a nuisance. Seeking shelter, they often gather in areas near doors and openings. Once they get inside, they die pretty quickly because of lack of water, but if they don’t get indoors and have a good water source, they can congregate along thresholds and in lanais.
When Tempco gets a call for millipedes, we treat them directly for an instant kill. Unlike our other pet-friendly slow-kill methods for other insects, millipedes are treated like spiders. They require a more potent method, and we advise customers to take extra care after treatment to be sure pets don’t tread on or have access to freshly treated millipedes.
Some customers complain of a lot of millipedes, others have none or very few. It’s hard to tell why some mulch beds attract more, but it’s likely that they produce a more abundant food source. If millipedes become a hassle for you, just give us a call and we’ll come out and get rid of them for you. We don’t recommend you pretend they are their celebrity cousins and boil them up to serve with hot drawn butter. If choose to leave them be, just sweep up the dead ones and throw them away. After rainy season, you probably won’t have any more uninvited guests with lots of legs coming into your home. Until next rainy season, of course.