Millipedes in the House
Though not actually possessing a thousand legs (as the name would imply), millipedes possess two pairs of legs per body segment (total number of legs dependent on growth stage). Millipedes are not classified as insects (but are in a closely related class of invertebrate arthropods). Millipedes appear black or brown in color, with a rounded body, and worm-like legs. When disturbed, the invertebrate coils up into a spiral, using the hard outer shell to protect the rest of the body. Millipedes do not bite, nor does the diplopod possess poisonous claws like the closely related centipede.
Though practically harmless in terms of injuring humans or pets, and not destructive to structures, millipedes become pests in late fall in New England once the weather starts to cool. The diplopod feeds on decaying organic matter, which in turn may lead to the invertebrate moving into homes. Seeking warmth/moisture and dark hiding places, the millipede may show up inside, typically in basements, sheds, or garages. The move into human structures follows basic migratory routes seeking new food sources and warm, damp locations. The most common sign of infestation remains visibly seeing millipedes. Keeping areas directly adjacent to the structure clear of organic matter, such as leaves, mulch, or any other debris that may attract the diplopod, typically reduces the amount found inside the home.