Entomology (Study of Bugs)/millipedes

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Question
Hi Ed,

I was reading one of your older responses in regards to a posting by someone having a problem with small brown like worms inside the homes. You posted a link to what they would look like, well those millipedes are the exact same one I am seeing inside my home. Never noticed them or had this problem last summer. Where do they come from? What can I do about them?
Thank you

Answer
Dear Antonio - Millipedes are very abundant in nature, but the vast majority are of no real concern as they are scavengers on decomposing organic material, and thus provide a useful recycling service. One of the few exceptions is the garden millipede, which has been known to damage tender plants, such as seedlings in a greenhouse situation. All millipedes are susceptible to desiccation, and require a moist/humid environment in which to thrive. Thus, the best control strategy is moisture management, including the elimination of unnecessary water sources (dripping/leaky pipes and taps, condensate from refrigeration/air handling equipment, etc.) and reducing indoor humidity levels as much as practical. Additionally, you can reduce the amount of favorable cover for them immediately surrounding your home by removing potential shelter such as boards, downed tree limbs, etc. as well as letting any mulched plant beds dry out thoroughly between watering. Perimeter application of a pesticide would be a last resort in the most extreme cases.

Hope this helps,
Saugy

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad

Expertise

Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.

Experience

21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Organizations
Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

Publications
American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

Education/Credentials
B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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