Are you startled by the increasing numbers of millipedes within your environs? Millipedes can be scary especially when you have children in your house. Questions about the safety of your family must be lingering in your mind, right? Are millipedes poisonous? Read on as we provide you with the most reliable answers to all your questions. This piece will demystify all the myths associated with the millipedes as it candidly explains the facts about the arthropod. It’s aimed at helping you overcome the fear of millipede through equipping you with all the necessary information and skills on how to handle the millipedes.
Table of Contents
Are They Poisonous?
There exist different types of millipedes. The different species have very close similarities making it difficult for you to determine the exact type that you are handling. But what are millipedes?
Millipedes are worm-like arthropods that have well-rounded body segments and numerous jointed appendages. These creatures vary in length and color and love to infest dark and moist areas of your house. Are the millipedes poisonous?
All the types of millipedes known are not poisonous to human beings. However, they have defensive mechanisms to protect themselves from their enemies. Key among the methods they use is the production of irritating fluids. The fluids do not have severe effects on the human beings except a few individuals who may experience allergic reactions.
The millipedes release fluids containing several chemicals including hydrochloric acid, hydrogen cyanide, organic acids, phenol, cresols, benzoquinones and hydroquinone. It’s, therefore, imperative to avoid direct handling of the millipedes.
To find out more millipedes facts, go here.
Are Millipedes Venomous?
Millipedes do not produce venomous substances. They are largely harmless creatures and they do not pose any death threat to human beings. The creatures curl themselves when confronted by any danger. This makes them relatively safe.
However, they should never be handled roughly as they can produce an irritating liquid as a defensive mechanism. Although the liquid can be highly irritating to the skin, it is not venomous.
Do Millipedes Bite?
Millipedes are not aggressive creatures. They are slow-moving and they majorly feed on the decomposing vegetative matter and other organic materials. The creatures do not bite even when threatened. Their primary defense mechanism is curling into a tight coil in order to protect their delicate legs inside the hard body exterior. They remain harmless unless severely provoked to produce an irritating liquid to splash to the enemy.
Are They Dangerous?
Millipedes are not dangerous creatures. They are harmless unless they are threatened. When the arthropods face any particular danger, they activate their innate defensive mechanisms. They have glands that produce special fluids that possess irritating effect.
The chemical fluid sprays can cause a lot of skin irritations and can lead to skin discoloration in the long run. It is vital to note that this is only a defensive mechanism used by the millipedes when they are in danger. As such, you should always avoid threatening the millipedes so roughly.
Also, you should always protect yourself from the fluid spray through:
- Avoid touching the millipedes with your bare hands. In as much as the creatures are largely harmless, always cover your hands when handling them. This ensures that you do not get sprayed with the harmful fluid and that your safety is guaranteed.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling millipedes. Handling millipedes may leave an unpleasant smell on your hands. Always make sure that you carefully clean your hands to entirely get rid of the odor. You can also use other solvents to remove the noxious fluid. You should, however, avoid the use of alcohol for cleaning.
- Avoid the fluids contact with your eye. Although the millipedes cannot splash the liquid past 30 cm, it is important to be cautious. Also, avoid touching your eyes immediately after handling the millipedes.
The millipedes are not known to be vectors of any disease. This means that the presence of the millipedes in your house cannot cause illnesses to the members of your family.
House Millipede Bite
House millipedes are considered a low-risk pest. They do not bite. However, the creatures’ segmented body and the numerous jointed appendages can be intimidating. This can cause a lot of discomfort among your family members.
Additionally, the arthropods can cause severe skin irritations and other complications. This occurs when the threatened millipede produces and splash a defensive fluid on the skin. People react differently to the attack depending on factors including the type of the millipede, the individual’s tolerance level and the state of the immune system.
Individuals who experience allergic reactions are likely to manifest the following signs:
- Pain and Irritation. The fluid produced by the millipedes contain some acidic components which may cause excessive irritation on the skin. In most cases, the irritations are localized to the region affected.
- Redness. Redness is one of the commonest signs that manifest when the millipede splashes you with its defensive fluid. This shows that the body is alert to fight the alien substances.
- Inflammation. This results from allergic reactions where the body fights back to protect infections.
- Skin Discoloration. This is a long-term effect of the interaction with the millipedes’ defensive fluid. It is primarily caused by the corrosion of the skin by the acidic elements of the fluid which leads to the progressive death of the skin cells.
- The pain of the Cornea. This is a serious symptom that may signify the splashing of the fluid into your eyes. Conjunctivitis will suffer from severe irritations and may progress into inflammation.
Although the fluid is not life-threatening, you should always be careful not to rattle the millipedes.
If the millipede has already splashed you with the irritating fluid, take the following steps immediately:
- Wash with plenty of water and soap. This should happen immediately after the splash. You should first splash the affected section with plenty of water and then add the soap to completely clean the section. If painful, you can carefully place an ice cube on the affected region to give you relief and the cooling effect.
- Use of Papain. Papain can be very helpful in eliminating some of the irritants in the fluid. This happens through the enzymatic breakdown of the fluid. The breakdown eventually neutralizes the effects of the fluid leading to reduced irritations. However, the use of papain should never substitute the thorough cleaning of the region.
- Use of corticosteroid cream. This is applied only when there is a skin reaction. It helps in the prevention of bacterial and fungal infections of the skin.
Cover the area with a clean and fresh bandage. It is important that you don’t allow the exposure of your compromised skin to another form of irritants or pollutants. This is achieved through the use of a fresh bandage.
You should never use alcohol or ethanol to clean the skin section splashed by the millipede’s fluid. Instead, use plenty of water and soap.
If the irritations become unbearable, it is advisable that you seek medical advice from your physician. This should always come after washing the affected region and keeping it dry. The doctor will examine you, and if he/she determines that it is an allergic reaction, an appropriate dosage of antihistamine will be administered.
If the eyes were affected, you should immediately seek medical attention. First, ensure that you thoroughly wash your face to dilute or entirely eliminate the fluid before rushing to the hospital.
Do they Sting? House Millipedes do not sting. The millipedes are naturally harmless creatures. They are among the safest arthropods.
Are Poisonous to Cats?
House millipedes are relatively a safe pest. In most cases, the cats spot the arthropod and may be tempted to rattle it. However, the millipede’s first reaction is to curl itself in order to protect its legs using the hard outer shell. When there exist a real threat, the millipede may produce an irritating liquid which it sprays to your cat. This leads to immense discomfort in your cat as the irritations become unbearable.
The cat behaves in a weird way and can:
- roll itself,
- run up and down,
- meow desperately.
Although this fades away with time, you can always spot the site of irritation and wash with plenty of water.
If the cat swallows the millipede, there is nothing much that happens.
However, in some rare instances, the cat may develop discomforts that reflects through:
- inability to eat,
This happens when the millipede produces the irritating liquid after being swallowed. The liquid can also irritate the throat leading to the cat making uncoordinated noise that may go on for some time. In most instances, this situation resolves after a short while.
When to call a veterinarian? In severe cases, it is always important to consult your veterinarian. This is when the situation is prolonged. The cat may show signs such as excessive vomiting, lack of appetite and lethargy.
Black and Yellow Millipedes
The black and the yellow millipedes are among the commonest species of the arthropods. Like all the other millipedes, these species are not poisonous. They react to their threat through curling their bodies. When the threat becomes unbearable, these creatures evoke their glands to produce an irritating fluid. The major component of the fluid is the hydrochloric acid which has the potential to burn and discolor your skin. The furthest that these species can spray the irritating liquid is 80 cm (Approximately 32 inches).
Generally, the two arthropods are friendly and not poisonous. They only defend themselves from external aggression when there is need. The pets and the birds also prey the millipedes. Rearing of birds is an excellent way of keeping the millipedes away. However, some pets are allergic to the irritating defensive fluid produced by the millipedes. They react by restlessness, reduced appetite and lethargy.
The millipedes are not harmful to human beings. However, the creatures can cause a lot of discomfort among your family members. This is especially a primary problem if you have children in your house. The anatomy of the arthropods can be blood-cuddling; they are characterized by large number of appendages and largely segmented bodies. As such, you should drive them away from the house.
You can find further details of Millipedes Control here.