Black Worm-like Critters Swarming Property are Millipedes

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“There is an infestation of these little worm-type creatures around the walk and foundation of my home in East Central South Dakota”, states this reader in her submission regarding the curled-up, black worm-like creature pictured below. “Any idea what they might be, or how to get rid of them?” Based on the photo, as well as the fact that these have been infesting the area around our reader’s home, we think this creature is a millipede. These critters are arthropods, meaning they have exoskeletons that protect a segmented body. Millipedes are detritivores, meaning they feed on decomposing organic matter, unlike their cousin the centipede, which is a predator that feeds on little bugs.

Confusing millipedes for centipedes is a common mistake, but they are vastly different. We can tell this is a millipede because its legs are not visible from above (in the other photos our reader sent in, where the millipede was not on its side): the reason for this is that a millipede’s legs grow from underneath its body, whereas a centipede’s legs grow from the sides of its body, making them visible from any angle. Given their diet, millipedes are benefactors of the environment as they help break down these decomposing organic materials and convert them into nutrient-rich waste products that act as fertilizers in the soil.

Infestations of millipedes around or inside one’s home is not entirely uncommon. They are probably trying to make their way into our reader’s home because it is cooler and more humid there: the climate that millipedes prefer. The summer heat is probably too much for them, especially if it is dry. To prevent millipedes from swarming one’s home, it is important to keep piles of organic matter away from one’s home, such as rocks, twigs and leaves. Millipedes love to hide in such piles, since they provide both food, as well as shade. It is also important that our reader makes sure her window screens are intact, and that there aren’t any gaps in her walls and floors through which these could crawl, so as to avoid an infestation of millipedes inside the home.

To conclude, the creatures our reader found by the masses outside her home are millipedes. They are not harmful to humans or pets, but infestations of them can nonetheless prove to be a nuisance. We hope this helps, and we wish our reader the very best!

 

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Black Worm-like Critters Swarming Property are Millipedes
Article Name
Black Worm-like Critters Swarming Property are Millipedes
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"There is an infestation of these little worm-type creatures around the walk and foundation of my home in East Central South Dakota", states this reader in her submission regarding the curled-up, black worm-like creature pictured below. "Any idea what they might be, or how to get rid of them?" Based on the photo, as well as the fact that these have been infesting the area around our reader's home, we think this creature is a millipede. These critters are arthropods, meaning they have exoskeletons that protect a segmented body. Millipedes are detritivores, meaning they feed on decomposing organic matter, unlike their cousin the centipede, which is a predator that feeds on little bugs.
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Author: Worm Researcher Anton

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