A common question from Austin property owners is whether or not centipedes and millipedes are dangerous. In general, the answer to that question is no. However, centipedes have venom which is usually not lethal to humans unless there is a severe allergic reaction. Millipedes eat dead plant matter, but their bodies secrete cyanide which can cause skin burns. In this blog we take a closer look at both Centipedes and Millipedes around the great Austin area.
There are two species of centipedes in Texas that freak people out. Mostly because they are very large – up to eight inches long. The most common is the redheaded centipede which is what people often find around their yards and on occasion in their garage or home. The other is a variation of this species, Scolopendra heros and is known as the giant dessert centipede.
Both centipedes use a neurotoxin to kill their prey, which can include snakes and rodents. These are big centipedes and they can handle larger prey.
Millipedes on the other hand are fairly common too. They will come in your home to see shelter from storms and to find water. Millipedes feed on decaying plant material and are not carnivorous as are the centipedes. Millipedes also do not have venom as they do not need it to subdue food. They do emit a type of cyanide that is caustic to human skin. Millipedes and centipedes are not the same. They are both invertebrates – they have an exoskeleton – and they are not insects. They are each their own order of organisms.
You can decrease the number of millipedes around your yard and home by making sure that plant material is cleaned up quickly and that if you compost, that you do so away from your home. If you have fruit trees, also make sure to pick up fallen and overly ripe fruit quickly. If you find millipedes in your home, you can usually just scoop them onto a piece of paper and take them outside. Their primary defense is to curl up in a ball and allow their tough exoskeleton to protect them. If they feel threatened they might secrete a liquid that not only stinks but has the cyanide in it.
Controlling Millipedes & Centipedes
The best offence they say is a good defense. Centipedes are hunters that live under things and hunt at night. Without cover, they tend to disappear. Millipedes eat dead plants. By keeping your yard free of clutter and removing dead and dying plants you can generally control both centipedes and millipedes.
If you have a severe problem with either, reach out to our team and we can help you identify some options that work for your yard. The two creatures are very different and require two different approaches to eradication. Each approach can be tricky, especially if you have pets or small kids.
We provide complete pest control to the Greater Austin area and we work with property owners to identify the best methods for each yard. Pest control is not always a one-size-fits-all tool.
Do you need pest control? Don't wait. Call Robert's Pest Control now at (512) 444-0132.