Are Millipedes Poisonous? What You Need to Know About Pesty ‘Pedes

In 2004, scientists uncovered a fossilized millipede dating back 420 million years — that’s about twice as far back as the first known dinosaurs. Millipedes are literally prehistoric, so it makes sense that these wiggly bugs make our skin crawl. But are millipedes poisonous? Or even dangerous at all?

What Is a Millipede?

The term “millipede” does not refer to just one species. Across the globe, there are around 10,000 known species of millipede. In the same sense that the words “spider” or “insect” could refer to thousands (or even millions) of different species, the same is true for millipedes.

Speaking of which, millipedes are not a type of arachnid or insect. However, all of these creatures — along with crustaceans like lobsters and crabs — fall under a single taxonomical phylum known as arthropods.

Millipedes are segmented animals with lots and lots of legs. Every millipede has two pairs of legs on each segment of its body, minus the head. But despite their name, millipedes don’t actually have a thousand legs.

How big can a millipede get?

Every species of millipede grows to a different size, with some growing several inches long. However, the vast majority of millipedes are quite small. If you stumble across a millipede in your own home, chances are it will be about an inch long.

What do millipedes eat?

In terms of diet, millipedes are a crucial part of nature’s life cycle. These creatures feed on and help decompose decaying plant matter. Without millipedes, many ecosystems around the world would struggle to function.

Are millipedes and centipedes the same thing?

Millipedes and centipedes, while related, are not the same.

Like the term “millipede,” the name “centipede” refers to around 8,000 different species. Centipedes live in a wide variety of ecosystems all over the world.

Centipedes have just one pair of legs per body segment. Centipede species also vary in size, ranging from less than an inch to longer than a foot. On average, centipedes are bigger than millipedes.

Centipedes are largely carnivorous and hunt smaller arthropods for food.

How do you tell the difference?

If you get close enough, telling the difference between a millipede and a centipede is as simple as looking at the critter in question.

Centipede legs splay out away from the body while millipede legs sit underneath. Sometimes, you can’t even see a millipede’s legs from above, making it look like a very, very fast worm!

The environment you found the millipede or centipede in can also tell you something. Millipedes greatly prefer very moist, soil-rich locations. Centipedes can be found pretty much anywhere.

You can also make an educated guess based on how the millipede or centipede behaves. When disturbed, centipedes tend to run away as quickly as possible. On the other hand, most millipedes will curl into a tight ball as the first line of defense.

Are Millipedes Poisonous?

As we all know, even the smallest critters can be dangerous to humans and pets. Just look at the black widow spider.

Fortunately, millipedes are not poisonous. They also are not venomous and do not bite. When it comes to these many-legged animals, they are definitely more afraid of you than you are of them.

The one defense mechanism millipedes do have is a liquid toxin. When threatened, a millipede might release this toxin onto its body or even spray it at an attacker. Keep in mind that not all species of millipedes have this capability.

This toxin does contain some nasty chemicals, mainly hydrogen cyanide and hydrochloric acid. But the amount released is so, so small that it has no real way of harming a creature larger than the millipede itself.

In rare cases, touching this toxin can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms normally include redness, itching, irritation, or small blisters.

What about centipedes?

Now that you know the answer to the question, “Are millipedes poisonous?” What about centipedes? They are more aggressive than their millipede friends, it makes sense that they would also be a bit more dangerous.

Centipedes use venom to hunt, and they do bite. While an extremely threatened centipede could bite a human or pet, it is rare. Most centipedes will run and hide rather than try to attack something much larger than themselves.

The larger the centipede, the more severe the bite is likely to be. Some species are even too small to break through human skin.

If a centipede does bite a person or pet, the symptoms are normally very mild. The bite location can turn red, swell, or itch, but just slightly.

In rare cases, a centipede bite can trigger a systemic allergic reaction. Potential symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Extreme swelling
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Itching

This response is similar to how some people are allergic to bee stings. At least one person has died from a centipede bite after going into anaphylaxis, so see a doctor immediately if any of these symptoms occur.

Millipedes Are in Your Home: Now What?

So you can rest easy knowing the answer to, “Are millipedes poisonous?” is no. But that knowledge probably doesn’t change your desire to rid your home of the multi-legged creatures.

Here’s what to do if you suspect millipedes have infested your home:

Identify the culprits

Before going any further, take a moment to confirm whether or not you’re dealing with millipedes or centipedes. The easiest way to do this is by catching one in a clear cup or jar — just long enough to get a good look without physically touching it.

While you have the offending creepy crawly in your possession, you can also try to identify the species of millipede or centipede. Look up common species in your area and see if any of the photos are a match.

Find what attracts them

Here’s the thing: Millipedes won’t invade your home without good reason. Instead, there’s likely something about your home that’s encouraged them to take roost.


Millipedes love moist environments. If moisture builds up in your basement, garage, or shed, there’s a good chance the millipedes won’t be far behind.

Plant matter

We now know that millipedes primarily eat decaying plant matter. If you let your yard become a millipede’s gourmet buffet, they will come.

Keep plant debris away from your home’s foundation and outbuildings. Things to watch out for include grass clippings, fallen leaves, lumber piles, and excessive mulch.


Millipedes hate being out in the open, so the fewer hiding places you provide, the better. Upturned buckets and similar items can also collect moisture underneath.

Clean up large debris around your yard, garage, basement, and outbuildings to discourage the local millipede population from moving in.

Remove the infestation

Making your home inhabitable to millipedes is the most important step, but it won’t always clear out an infestation as quickly or as thoroughly as you’d like. You can use pest killer to help control the infestation. You might also find tons of dead millipedes left behind.

Use a broom or vacuum to pick up the remnants and take them outside. Living millipedes can live for quite a while inside a vacuum canister, so don’t forget to empty it right away.

When Should You Call a Professional Exterminator About Millipedes?

Professional exterminators are an invaluable tool for many homeowners. However, their services are rarely required for a millipede infestation.

Millipedes are overall harmless. Plus, they require a very specific environment to survive. As soon as your home no longer meets these needs, the millipedes will either naturally die off or pack up and leave.

One way professional exterminators can help control millipedes is with a perimeter treatment. This process essentially creates a chemical barrier around your home’s foundation, stopping unwanted pests in their tracks.

Perimeter treatments work on a wide variety of pests, such as ants, termites, and boxelder bugs. Different chemicals work better on different bugs, so tell your exterminator to treat specifically for millipedes.

Rid Your Home of Thousand-Legged Pests

So, are millipedes poisonous? No, but that doesn’t mean you need to live with them in your home. Taking just a few simple steps to rid your home of moisture and debris can make a huge difference in whether or not a millipede colony wants to set up shop.

If cleaning up your home doesn’t solve the problem, calling a professional exterminator is the next step. An exterminator can also treat your property to prevent future millipede infestations before they can occur.

Ultimately, a few millipedes living in your home aren’t a huge concern. Bu,t millipedes canindicatef another serious problem, such as a leaking pipe, cracked basement wall, or rotting debris. Millipedes might be harmless, but they shouldn’t be ignored.

Have you ever dealt with a millipede or centipede infestation? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below!


How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies At Home and In Your Potted Plants

There is nothing more irritating than those uninvited pests that fly around your house and buzz around your fruit and houseplants. We understand all too well the revulsion that the mere sight of fruit flies cause, and the shiver of horror they inspire. Therefore, you may find yourself wondering how to get rid of fruit flies.

Nothing is safe from these pesky flying irritants. Once they infest your home, they continue to multiply at an alarming speed to plague your planters and haunt your fruit bowls, drains, and bins. It is not an uncommon problem though it is a simple one to deal with once you know a few hints and tricks.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

It stands to reason that the first step is to identify the cause of the flying plague and eliminate it. Thorough cleaning of the area will also help. However, there are some simple remedies you may employ to aid in their extermination.

Homemade remedies such as apple cider will trap and kill the blighters. You may even use leftover red wine to create a swimming pool trap. Failing that, you may resort to sticky fly traps or even predatory mites to clean up for you.

Find the Offending Cause

If you are unlucky enough to suffer from an infestation, the first thing you must consider when you wonder how to get rid of fruit flies is the cause. Identify the cause and remove it. It sounds simple, and believe it or not, it is.

Fruit flies tend to buzz around food sources, mainly fruit. Also, if you have some rotten fruit in a bowl or the bin, the fruit flies will have a feast. Therefore, when you approach the problem of how to get rid of fruit flies, remove the fruit!

Clean sweep

Throw out the fruit or vegetables. It sounds like a waste but remains a necessary evil. However, once the flies find it, the food is ruined. Therefore, you must dispose of it.

Scrub away the memory

Once you have removed the offending articles, then you must clean the area thoroughly with a propriety cleaner. Any brand of household cleaner will work to disinfect the area. Clean all the surfaces and make sure that you clean waste bins as well.

In most cases, this will solve the problem. Once you remove the food source for the flies, then you also remove the problem. When you consider how to get rid of fruit flies, good housekeeping and cleanliness remain the key.

Home Remedies

Sometimes the infestation may prove so problematic that you may need to take further action. Furthermore, you may find the solution regarding how to get rid of fruit flies in your store cupboards. Consequently, these simple tricks may help to solve your flying problem.

Create a home swimming pool

If you like a glass of red wine of an evening, you may find that you have a little left in the bottle. If so, then a simple swimming pool trap will answer the question of how to get rid of fruit flies.

Pour the leftover wine into a disposable container and add a little household detergent to the mix. Cover the container with cling film, making sure that the edges remain entirely sealed.

Poke a few holes into the film using the sharp end of a pencil. The holes need to be big enough for the flies to crawl through but not big enough for them to fly out. The trick here is that once the flies crawl into your trap, they are unable to escape through the holes.

The flies are attracted to the red wine. They will fall into your indulgent swimming pool and die in the unpalatable liquid. Overnight, you should find the problem solved, and you may dispose of the container safely.

A bitter end

Little black monsters fly around your kitchen and infest your planters, and now you want to know how to get rid of fruit flies. Most of us have vinegar in our store cupboards, and this proves the most useful weapon against the common fruit fly.

Place a few tablespoons of water and vinegar in a plastic cup. Stir in some sugar and a little household detergent. The flies will swarm to the mixture. As a result, once they touch the solution, they drown.

A Vinegar trap is a great solution to use around the home wherever you see the offending flies. You may place cups of the killer concoction around your home and next to planters. Very quickly, you will find the problem resolved as the flies get themselves into a pickle.

A Store-Bought Solution

Sometimes you may find the need to purchase a fly trap solution to the problem. Perhaps you have young children, and you feel uncomfortable leaving homemade remedies lying around. Consequently, some handy fly traps exist in the marketplace.

Katchy problem

Katchy manufactures an indoor insect trap that uses UV light to attract the invaders. A small internal fan sucks the blighters into the device, at which point they find themselves trapped on sticky paper. You may replace the sticky paper with ease, so the device will continue to work effectively for a long time.

While the trap will not kill house flies, it is effective on fruit flies, gnats, and mosquitos.

A sticky end

Sticky fly traps remain a tried and tested remedy. Basic Concepts produce a double-sided yellow sticky fly trap that will kill fruit flies. You simply hang the sticky yellow tabs in the affected area and around planters, and the flies find themselves attracted to the yellow surface. The sticky coating traps the flies and kills them.

The product is non-toxic and child friendly and may prove a useful weapon when you consider how to get rid of fruit flies.

How to get rid of fruit flies from your planters

You may have a lot of planters around your home where the fruit flies will thrive. Stingmon makes a sticky fruit fly trap that is designed specifically for placing discreetly in your planters.

The little sticky yellow taps are shaped like birds and have an arrow shape on the bottom that you poke into the soil of the planter. The bright color attracts the insects, and the strong glue stops them from escaping. The fly killer is easy to use and non-toxic. Also, the waterproof nature of the traps ensures their longevity.

Using Nature to Fight Nature

Organic Control is a company that champions the natural, organic solution to pest control. They advocate the use of beneficial insects to control and eliminate unwanted guests. Consequently, the use of these beneficial insects in the home and the garden provide a safe and organic solution to insect infestations without harming the environment.

How to get rid of fruit flies using beneficial nematodes

Organic Control recommends the use of beneficial nematodes to eradicate fruit flies. The nematodes are microscopic in size, and you cannot see them with the naked eye. The nematodes eat the larvae of the fruit fly, and consequently, eradicate the problem at its root.

This safe, organic method of pest control proves particularly useful when you consider how to get rid of fruit flies in containers and planters. You spray the soil with the provided solution, and this releases the nematodes into the soil.

The Last Resort

You can, of course, hire an exterminator to rid you of the problem. However, this is an expensive solution, and you should try the home remedies before you consider hiring the experts.

It is worth noting that exterminators use harmful, toxic chemicals to treat such problems. If you have underlying health issues, this may not prove the best solution for you.

Health Is the Bottom Line

Infestations such as those of the common fruit fly pose serious health problems if left unchecked. By nature, flies pick up bacteria and deposit it wherever they land. This includes your food and preparation surfaces.

Flies find themselves particularly attracted to manure and feces, and then the flies land on your food. Not a very pleasant thought, is it? Such contamination may carry harmful bacteria such as E. Coli, which is dangerous for adults and children alike.

In addition, fruit flies lay their eggs in the fruit. As a result, the fruit flies contaminate the food. No-one wants to eat anything with fly eggs inside it.

Cleanliness and good housekeeping remain at the forefront of the fight against such contamination. Furthermore, when you consider how to get rid of fruit flies, you must also consider the health implications of not dealing with the problem immediately.

A Problem Recurring

If you keep the food storage areas clean and dispose of any rotten vegetables and fruit, then you will reduce the risk of further infestation. However, the problem can reoccur if you do not keep up with such due diligence.

Once you have a problem with fruit flies, it may take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to solve the situation. Not only is it a nuisance, but it also presents a potential health risk. By ensuring that your bins, drains, and food areas remain clean at all times, you dramatically reduce the risk of a fruit fly infestation.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Answered

No-one likes to see a cloud of tiny black insects buzzing around your kitchen or planters. The thought of small flies landing on your food remains unpalatable at best. However, should such a problem occur, we now know how to deal with it simply and effectively.

By creating a simple red wine swimming pool, we may trap and drown the flies before they become too much of a problem. Alternatively, use vinegar, water, and sugar in plastic cups to drown the menace. Use proprietary sticky tabs in your planters to kill the flies or consider using an organic solution such as beneficial insects to help you win the fight.

While we may all have to wonder how to get rid of fruit flies at some point in our lives, these simple and easy to follow instructions offer practical solutions. With just a few household ingredients, we may soon claim victory over the flying menace.