Not to be confused for its centipede cousin, the millipede is one of those varmints that looks creepy but is more annoying than harmful (that is, unless it gets right in your face). These arthropod pests possess a super long body with tons of little legs. To understand if you have a millipede problem, check to see for a couple of things: 1) if its long body is subcylindrical (i.e. it’s rounded out at each end); 2) if there are two pairs of legs on each side of the body; 3) if it’s moving very slowly and burrowing. If so, then it’s a millipede. However, if the body is flat, there’s one set of legs on each side, there’s long antennae at each end, and it’s moving fast, then you’ve just met its cousin the centipede!
(PS: if you ever wanted to know the answer to the ever-asked question, “How many legs does a millipede have?” it’s 750.)
While they are not nearly as poisonous to humans as the centipede is, the millipede does possess glands that contain an irritant fluid made of hydrochloric acid which can trigger skin allergies and allergic reactions in certain people, and even long-term skin discolouration. Definitely don’t touch a millipede with your bare hands if this sounds like you!
Millipedes are not the most dangerous varmints, but they’re not something you’d want hanging out in your home by any means. This is because damp wood and other decaying matter that coincidentally is what most houses in Vancouver are made out of are the millipede’s favourite foods. Mulch, damp leaves, firewood, and other naturally decaying plant-based materials also count as staples in the millipede’s diet.
You can usually tell if you have an infestation by observing them moving from one part of shelter to the next. Look in areas such as your garage, shed, and basement if you suspect an infestation has been or is taking place. If so, give your local Pest Boss a call and we can exterminate them. We’ll get you, varmints!