You can find millipedes at your home very often. These creatures are absolutely safe for humans and even help us by eating flies and other insects in the houses. Therefore scientists do not recommend destroying them. In some countries they are under the protection and to exterminate them is strictly prohibited. But most of all, noticing such an unpleasant legged creature in our own house we ask a question: how can we get rid of them?
Unlike their more short-legged tropical relatives, home millipedes can spend their entire lives in the house. However, due to their intimidating appearance, horrible speed of movement and the painful bites few people have the desire to live with them in one house. They bite people very rarely, most often their jaws are so weak, that they can not bite through human skin, even in self-defense. But even if they manage to do it, bite of millipedes reminds feelings of slight sting of the bee.
There are 7000 species of millipede in the world. In the USA you can find approximately 1400 species of them. They may have completely different color and length of the body. Color of these insects is mostly brown in various shades. Their bodies are segmented and have two pair of legs for each segment. The length is about from 2,5 till 4 cm.
The usual habitat of millipedes – damp places outdoors. They live in a pile leaves and grass, flower beds and gardens. Millipedes are very fond of moisture. Frequently they penetrate into our home. To meet millipede you can not only in wet areas – bathroom, toilet or basements. They can live in any other rooms. But they are not tied very strongly to humidity, but take up residence, where they can find mosquitoes, flies, moth flies and silverfish – their basic food.
Millipedes do not bring harm to either any food or household appliances, clothing or furniture. However, as a defense millipedes can bite. You should not be afraid of them, because their poison is absolutely safe for humans, unlike bites of bed bugs or mites. To meet them in the US, you can across the area, but most of them live in places with frequent rain and more humid climate.
Harm to human
Millipedes have a huge appetite, they purify the world from a variety of pests such as weevils and larvae, and in general they are more helpful than harmful. Depends on the type of millipedes some of them are not dangerous, but there are also hazardous, that’s why you should control the situation. The bites of some millipedes can be accompanied by soreness, the formation of swelling and redness around place of a sting. Sometimes increase nearby lymph nodes, but no tissue damage or infection usually occurs.
In rare cases, symptoms persist for more than 48 hours. Millipedes bites could produce toxins that irritate the skin and in serious cases can cause damage. The most dangerous are bites of Scolopendra. The poison of millipedes contains biologically active substances: acetylcholine, histamine, serotonin, as well as a number of enzymes, including proteolytic. When injected into the blood it affects the functioning of the heart and nervous system. Locally – causes inflammation, tissue necrosis.
Causes, why appear such insects in the houses
In order to understand whence undertake millipedes, you should pay attention which other insects live in the apartment. They usually appear searching for food from the street or from a neighboring apartment. If millipede could find in the house a permanent source of food, there is a high probability of their occurrence in this area. Very often millipedes can be found in cottages, settling in basements and lower floors, where they come out to hunt, moving through all rooms.
Wooden floor, which usually is in a cottage, is just the perfect place for living of millipedes, because they can hide in crevices during the day. They can also hide under furniture or boxes where you store different things. You should be very careful when you bring things from the basement, because you can bring also millipedes. They can penetrate into your house from garage, window sills, from various holes in the walls or from leaky ventilation.
Period of activity of the pests
Millipedes are active during the day and night. But the special activity of these pests you can notice in autumn and spring. This is due to the fact, that from onset of cold weather millipedes often migrate. They leave their normal habitat and now their behavior indicates, that they are looking for a new place for the winter.
Nevertheless, the researchers also claim, that the activity of millipedes increases in the rainy season. During the heavy rains their place of residence flooded, that’s why they penetrate into basements and habitable rooms. Millipedes spend winter in secluded places and become active in spring. With the help of antennae they explore their surroundings. When environmental conditions were changed, such as significant decrease in temperature, millipedes hide in shelters or move to another location.
A life cycle of millipedes is longer than many other insects have. Adult individuals continue to molt and live up to 7 years. Millipedes – are individualists and live alone, therefore they do not create a colony. Life cycle of small species is an average of 1-2 years, while the larger species, such as Scolopendra can live for 7 years.
All millipedes lay eggs. Post-embryonic development can be direct (epimorphosis), but they usually develop with the larval phase (metamorphosis). Females of millipedes lay eggs into the soil, and cover them with a sticky substance. In the nest locations you can find a large quantity of eggs. In laboratory experiments, the female lays an average of 63 eggs, and the maximum – more than 151 eggs. About two weeks after hatching posterity lives with a mother, this provides some degree of protection for them.
Methods of dealing
To get rid of millipedes you should inspect their habitats and do the next:
- to dry surface of the soil in the pot with indoor plants;
- to collect and destroy pests using traps. On moist soil you should put a wooden plank or a small piece of any opaque and dense material. Millipedes would climb under the trap, where they can be collected;
- to use the bait such pieces of root vegetables (carrots, potato), which placed on the soil surface;
- if millipedes live in the bathroom, it is necessary to pour directly on the floor a small amount of boric acid;
- to use a spray bottle. It is recommended not to be in house at least two hours. After that, you should thoroughly ventilate the room and completely sanitize the entire room;
- to put on the floor sticky tape, millipedes will certainly go into this trap.
You should comprehensively fight with millipedes and in an apartment or in the house do the following:
- to air a premise every day;
- to check the soil in potted plants;
- to monitor the humidity in the rooms and of things;
- to close tightly entrance doors;
- to put mosquito nets on the windows;
- to clean the house inside and around;
- to remove fallen leaves, grass clippings, wood, compost and building materials from the area, or take them away from home.