We just heard from a reader who said she finds about a dozen of millipedes in her home every day. She said one even crawled into her bed and left a mark on her stomach. The mark doesn’t hurt or itch, but it is red. She is curious if this is a common situation. Since our reader didn’t send in a photograph, we will have to take her word for it and trust that these creatures really are millipedes. (The photo featured on this post is a picture of a millipede that we received from another reader.)
There are many species of millipedes, some of which are equipped with toxins to release if they feel threatened. However, when most people come into contact with these toxins they experience a reaction that might include intense pain, burning, or developing a bad rash. Since we are not medical professionals, we can’t speculate on the type of reaction our reader experienced from being in direct contact with this millipede. If she is concerned or curious, she should go see a doctor who will be able to give a professional opinion about the situation. If her curiosity was simply stemmed in wondering if this has happened to people before, then we can tell her that yes, it has.
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Now to address another issue, why are all these millipedes in her house in the first place? Millipedes usually live in leaf liter and moist debris where they can scavenge for food. If they are desperate to eat and cannot find decaying organic matter, they might eat living plants. They enjoy a dark, damp environment, so a basement that isn’t properly ventilated might attract these arthropods. However, when these arthropods end up in a home it is often by accident since their desired food source isn’t typically available indoors. These millipedes might be sneaking in through an opening in a window, door, ventilation system, or crack in the foundation. Our reader should check these areas to ensure they are properly sealed. In addition, she could also install a dehumidifier into her home. This will decrease moisture and make her home less appealing to millipedes. Finally, general cleaning to eliminate any potential food sources might help as well.
In summary, a reader told us that her house has been invaded by millipedes, and asked us if it was common for them to leave a mark on human skin upon contact. This has happened before, but our reader should contact a doctor about this situation if she is nervous. In the mean time, she can clean her house and fix any holes or openings to prevent millipedes (and other creatures) from entering her home.
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