Recently in our area, we have been seeing millipedes in higher numbers. While it can be annoying, millipedes that occur in Arkansas are entirely harmless. Millipedes neither bite nor sting. They vary from less than half inch up to 3 inches in length and usually brown to blackish in color. The elongated body is rounded, not flattened, and they have no poison legs or claws. When disturbed, they typically curl up into a tight ring and remain motionless. Millipedes are similar to centipedes, but have two pairs of legs per body segment.
Millipedes are usually restricted to moist places where they feed on organic matter. They may become a nuisance because they migrate away from feeding areas and invade homes. Because they crawl along the ground, they are usually found in lower floors and basements. Once inside the home, they usually die due to desiccation (drying out). In moist basements, they can survive longer.
Millipedes feed primarily on decaying organic matter, but may attack roots and leaves of seedling plants. Millipedes also live in organic matter (leaves, mulch, or piles of wood or wood chips) and other material close to the house. Over-mulching and/or overwatering in the garden can result in millipede attack on vegetable plants.
To discourage millipedes near your house, remove dead vegetation (fallen leaves, cut grass, etc.) and mulch adjacent to the house. You can treat a 10- to 15-foot strip around the outside of your house perimeter with an insecticide. Make sure you also treat exterior basement wall, window frames, and door sills. Pyrethroid insecticides are recommended for control of millipedes because they are fast-acting. Look for a product that has bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, pyrethrins, resmethrin, or tralomethrin as the active ingredient. People and pets should stay off wet insecticides, but can safely walk on the yard once the insecticide is dry. Inside the home, you can spray appropriately labeled pyrethroid products. Make sure you treat baseboards, cracks, crevices and other hiding places such as under clothes washers and dryers in utility rooms. Contact sprays of pyrethrins may be applied directly to centipedes and millipedes for quick control. When using any insecticide make sure you follow the directions on the label.
Inside the house, the safest and most environmentally sound way to control millipedes and centipedes is to use a vacuum or broom to sweep them up. However, damp hiding places can be treated with indoor insecticides labeled for this use.
While millipedes are not poisonous, there are several species that produce irritating secretions. It is not advisable to handle millipedes, but when one has been held, avoid contact with the eyes and wash hands with soap and water until the odor is completely gone. If you have questions, give me a call at 501-623-6841 or come by our office at 236 Woodbine.
4-H Club information
For information about Garland County 4-H Club membership or program benefits, visit Linda Bates at the Garland County Cooperative Extension Service office, 236 Woodbine, call 501-623-6841, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available at http://www.uaex.edu/garland.
Master Gardener information
If you have an interest in gardening, you may want to apply to become a Master Gardener. You may obtain an application by calling our office to have one emailed to you, or by picking one up at the Cooperative Extension office, 236 Woodbine. You're welcome to attend the monthly Master Gardener meeting which is held on the third Thursday of each month, 12:30 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 132 Abbott Place. The meetings are open to the public and guests are always welcome. Call the Extension office at 623-6841 for more information.
Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC, call 623-6841 or email Alison Crane at email@example.com. Follow Alison on Facebook @garlandEGF and @Garland FCS, and EHC on Facebook @GarlandCountyEHC.Society on 06/10/2019
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