One of our readers discovered a lot of worm-like-organisms emerging from drain pipes that are connected to the sewer. From the photograph he shared, we can see that they have segmented bodies and are very dark brown or black. He also mentioned that the specimens have legs. So, what are these creatures? Are they harmful? How can he get rid of them?
What kind of worm-like-organism has a dark, segmented body and legs? If you guessed a millipede then you are correct! Millipedes are arthropods, which means they have an exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Most millipedes have more than 20 segments, and 2 pairs of jointed legs per segment! Their numerous legs are often how people identify millipedes. Millipedes pose no threat to humans, as they do not bite or sting. When they feel threatened they may curl up into a C-shape or release a foul smelling fluid, which can cause skin irritation. If this happens, he should just wash it off immediately.
So, how can our reader say goodbye to these creatures? Well, millipedes are detritivores. They eat decomposing vegetation, animal matter, and organic matter mixed with soil. Therefore, they thrive in an environment like the forest floor, where there is an abundance of feeding materials. Millipedes play an important role in the breakdown and decomposition of of leaf liter. We think there is probably a food source in the drain that these millipedes are hanging out it. If he doesn’t want to physically clean out the drain, he can make the surrounding environment less hospitable by cleaning up any leaf liter and decaying plant material. If he is desperate to get rid of these creatures, he can consider introducing some of their natural predators into his yard. These predators include toads, shrews, badgers, and birds (even the domestic chicken!)
To sum up, one of our readers found a bunch of millipedes hanging out in the drain the connects to a sewer. He should clean up the area by removing plant matter, and could consider introducing a natural predator to get rid of these arthropods.
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