Have you ever seen any elongated cylindrical flattened bodied insect at your home, office, or bathroom & mistaken it for a small-sized snake? Has the creature frightened you? Have you feared that this creature secretes toxins inside your blood by biting you? Don’t panic! The creature is none other than a millipede. But, what is a millipede? Are millipedes poisonous? Does a millipede bite? Come! Let’s move forward and gather every kind of knowledge or information about millipedes.
What Is A Millipede?
Millipedes are the arthropods that are the 1st animals that evolve from water and later shift to land habitats. They fall among the oldest decomposers & are scattered in nearly all types of areas in the world. People often mistake them for worms. Millipedes have 2 pairs of adjoined legs on their most body segments and fall in the class Diplopoda.
Maximum millipedes, which amass elongated type cylindrical flattened bodies, comprise more than twenty segments in their bodies. However, there are also some millipedes, called pill millipedes, that are smaller in size & often roll into a ball.
A millipede is nearly blind & dark Brown in appearance. Though dark brown colored millipedes are generally harmless, the bright ones are somewhat toxic or allergic. The exterior exoskeleton of millipedes is very tough & they look like crustaceans & insects. They comprise spiracles & contain no direct copulatory organs. They reproduce by hatching eggs.
What Do Millipedes Eat?
Millipedes, mostly in their natural lodging, are actually scavengers & make their living by eating damp & decaying wood particles. Dead & decaying leaves or other plant materials are also part of their food. By any chance, if their habitat dries out, they will strike living plants.
6 Types Of Millipedes
1. Cylindroiulus Caeruleocinctus
It is a type of large millipede whose shape is like a kidney. The size of this millipede is 20-30 mm & it is brown-black. It has brass-like edges on its segments.
2. Tachypodoiulus Niger
It is a type of millipede that can grow up to twenty-five millimeters & has a banded look. It has pale brown segments on its body, darker spots along its sides & black facade eyes. The tail end of this millipede is light, and its legs are white & tiny. Its rear segment is protruded.
3. Ommatoiulus Sabulosus
It is a type of millipede that is cylindrical & plump & has ginger stripes over its segmented body. The color of this millipede is brown. It is considered one of the largest species of millipedes.
4. Order Polydesmida
It is a type of millipede that is the largest among millipedes & comprises nearly 3500 species. The body segment of this millipede has keels & ranges from 3 millimeters to 130 millimeters. Its lower body section has small leg pairs & it has no eyes. They can change their body color to warn predators of their liquid secretions that are poisonous.
5. Archispirostreptus Gigas
It is a type of millipede that is one of the world’s giant millipedes and has a growing capacity of 38.5 cm in length & 2.6 inches (circumference). It has nearly 256 legs, though the leg number differs according to the creature.
6. Narceus Americanus
It is a type of millipede that is one of the world’s largest millipedes. It has a growing capacity of 10 cm & unlike other flat regular-sized millipedes, it always puts up with a cylindrical shape. Their color is either black (each segment’s side has a red line) or dark red-brown. The 1st 4 parts or segments of its body comprise legs that are of a single pair. The rest of the abdominal segments comprise 2 pairs of legs.
Are Millipedes Poisonous?
Many people often fear when they suddenly confront a millipede. At the very same time, a question strikes in their mind-“Do millipedes bite?” No! Millipedes never bite. Also, they are not poisonous in general. However, as soon as they feel any security threat, they coil up to resemble a ball.
Also, rarely, on feeling endangered, their glands secret a fluid toxin. This fluid protects them from predators like spiders, ants, or other insects. Again, some millipedes are so powerful that they can spray their toxin many feet away on detecting any threat.
However, though they release toxins for predators, they are perfectly safe for humans, even if the toxin gets applied in moderate quantities to the human body. But, the same toxin harms humans if it gets applied in large quantities to a human’s body.
Are they again got frightened, right? Nothing to stress yourself! Millipedes always emit a small number of toxins from their body that can never poison a human. So, millipedes are not at all poisonous. Once you catch a millipede and place it on your hand, it will coil & release a brown stain on your skin. The fluid is washable. But, its stain may remain for some time at that place before finally fading out.
Are Millipedes Dangerous?
No, Millipedes aren’t hazardous, be they large millipedes or baby millipedes. However, they can cause allergy or irritation on people’s skin if their toxin fluid gets touched the people’s skin. In case you are allergic to millipedes & still handle them, you will see the following symptoms:
- Burning sensation
Millipede Burn Or Blister Treatment
The toxin released by millipedes doesn’t suit some people who are allergic to it. So, if you are one among them & have recently handled a millipede, which has emitted its fluid toxin onto your skin & you have developed blisters/burns on that area, then do the following:
- Immediately wash & clear the fluid from your skin. It’s better to use lukewarm water while washing it. Also, use regular soap & aloe vera gel for cleaning the area. Aloe vera gel cleans the area and soothes the blisters or burns in that area.
- If you have got itchy rashes as well on your skin, you can take antihistamine (OTC) medicine with the advice of a doctor.
- Also, treat the rashes by applying a soothing topical cream on the area like oatmeal lotion/hydrocortisone cream.
- Use papain to eliminate the irritants present in the fluid.
Comparison Between Millipedes & Centipedes
- Centipedes are much more protracted than millipedes
- Centipedes look like small snakes having legs & are flatter than millipedes. Whereas millipedes look like harmless worms.
- Millipede’s body comprises 2 pairs of legs in each body segment, whereas Centipede’s body comprises 1 pair of legs in each body segment.
- The Centipede’s legs & antennae are much longer than that of millipedes.
- You will never experience a millipede bite as millipedes never bite. In comparison, Centipedes bite humans whenever they feel threatened. The symptoms after a severe Centipede bite usually continue for some days.
How To Prevent The Allergies Or Irritations?
- If you think you are allergic to millipedes, avoid touching or holding them
- Don’t touch your eyes after you handle a millipede, as it may lead to conjunctivitis.
- Wash your hands very well in case you have accidentally/intentionally touched or handled a millipede.
How To Get Rid Of Millipedes?
Millipedes grow where they find damp areas & hide underneath the debris. Sometimes, they enter your home in search of moisture. Since your 1st-floor laundry rooms or basements remain mostly damped, chances are they may choose those places as their living & breeding places. Though not harmful, they can turn your residence into theirs within no time through reproduction. So, if you wish to make your house millipedes-free, do the following:
- Keep your home dry
- Ensure that weather stripping is unchanged around doors.
- Caulk the openings
- Fix any plumbing leaks if any
- Seal the off-window edges
- Seal all the holes & openings in your house
The Takeaway on Millipede Bite
So, is millipede bite poisonous?
No! Up til now, we have already learned that millipedes don’t bite & even if they release a toxin fluid, it doesn’t cause any serious harm to humans. But, allergic people stay away from millipedes. And, if by mistake, you handle any millipede, do proper treatment. Don’t get frightened! Millipedes can’t damage you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Millipede bite
Q. What happens if a millipede bites you?
Answer: Millipedes never bite. So, they can’t harm you. However, their body releases a toxin fluid that comes in contact with any allergic person, causing allergy or irritation in that person’s body.
Q. What do you do after a millipede bites you?
Answer: Millipedes never bite you. However, if you are allergic to millipedes & have recently handled one, then do the following to treat the blisters/burns on that area:
1. Immediately wash & clear the fluid from your skin. It’s better to use lukewarm water while washing it. Also, use regular soap & aloe vera gel for cleaning the area. Aloe vera gel cleans the area and soothes the blisters or burns in that area.
2. If you have got itchy rashes as well on your skin, you can take antihistamine (OTC) medicine with the advice of a doctor.
3. Also, treat the rashes by applying a soothing topical cream on the area like oatmeal lotion/hydrocortisone cream.
4. Use papain to eliminate the irritants present in the fluid.
Q. How poisonous are millipedes?
Answer: Millipedes are not poisonous. However, they can cause allergy or irritation on people’s skin if their toxin fluid gets touched the people’s skin. In case you are allergic to millipedes & still handle them, you will see the following symptoms:
3. Burning sensation