“I found two of these,” states this reader in her submission, referring to the dark brown, worm-like creature with antennae pictured below. “What are they?”
“When I squished them, yellow-gold sticky stuff came out”, she continues, before concluding her query by expressing that she is “terrified”.
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Well, firstly, we advise against squishing any organisms that one finds before knowing what they are. They could very well be a harmless creature, or even beneficial to keep around. This brings us to our second point, that the creatures our reader found are millipedes, which are indeed beneficial to the environment.
Like an earthworm, the millipede feeds on decomposing organic matter and, through the process of digestion, turns it into nutrient-rich fertilizer. Our reader does not specify where she found the millipedes, but if found in the home, we can understand that it is nonetheless unpleasant to find such organisms in one’s home, no matter how beneficial to the environment they are.
Millipedes can often find their way into people’s homes, particularly into people’s basements. This is because millipedes prefer environments which are damp, dark and cool, and so when it gets too dry, bright and hot outside, they sometimes flee into people’s homes. They can also be in search of food, especially if they detect any rotting organic debris in one’s home. So one needs to make sure that one does not have any of that lying around, as that can attract more than just millipedes.
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With all of that said, millipedes are not a danger to humans or pets. They are completely harmless. The most they can do is secrete a fluid which can cause irritation of the skin if they feel threatened, though usually they just curl up into ‘C’ shape and play dead.
Moving on, homes are typically more prone to millipede infestations if one has piles of leaves, rocks, twigs, or other organic materials on one’s lawn. They are even more likely to find their way into a home if one has such piles leaning up against the walls of one’s home. So, if our reader finds any such piles on her own lawn, removing them may prove fruitful in preventing more millipedes from entering her home.
To conclude, the organisms our reader found are millipedes. They are nothing to be feared, and they should not be killed, but simply released back outside. We hope this article proves helpful, and we wish our reader the very best.