A reader recently reached out to us about some “yucky little guys” that she found in her apartment. She explained that she swept up some dead ones in her living room and bedroom. She also mentioned that there isn’t carpeting in either room. She would like to know what the organisms are and how she can make them go away. The photograph she sent displays two tiny worm-like organisms in the palm of her hand. They are both brown, though one is darker brown and one is lighter brown. They are curled into tiny C-shapes, and appear to have segmented bodies with minuscule legs:
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We think these might be millipedes! Although millipedes are arthropods, not worms, we still write about them all the time. They are small creatures that have brown segmented bodies lined with legs. Each segment of the body of a millipede has two pairs of jointed legs. We often identify millipedes by the C-shape they curl into or by their legs, but sometimes their legs are curled up into their bodies and aren’t able to be seen.
Although millipedes do end up in houses and garages pretty often, they aren’t common household pests. In other words, while they do appear from time to time and can certainly be annoying, they typically don’t breed in a house or feed on or destroy household items. Millipedes usually live in leaf litter, where they can feed on decaying wood and other debris. They enjoy a damp and dark outdoor environment, but sometimes wander into a home when the weather is changing outside and becoming drier and hotter. The millipedes our reader found might have crawled in through an open door, unsealed window, or crack in the ventilation system. We recommend that our reader get rid of the dead millipedes she has found, and then work on preventing more millipedes from sneaking in. She should seal up any potential entry points and clear away any debris from around the outside of her apartment building. This should reduce the number of millipedes hanging around near her building, and hopefully result in fewer sneaking into her home.
In conclusion, one of our readers discovered some brown worm-like organisms in her home. We think they are likely millipedes. Fortunately, millipedes don’t sting or bite, or damage household goods or furniture.
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