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Millipedes are a good thing says the TCI Department of Agriculture

#Providenciales, August 5, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – Millipedes are not worms, and they are nature’s little helpers; a message from the Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Agriculture.  

“In recent times you may have seen numerous millipedes in and around your home and perhaps you may be wondering what are these worms and can they harm you?  Well Millipedes are not worms!!!  They are arthropods – invertebrates with an exoskeleton, segmented body and joint appendages that are either black or brown in colour with orange or red markings on their body.  An adult can have as much as two hundred pairs of legs.   These organisms are harmless they do not bite or sting and are known as nature’s recyclers.”  

They are pesky little things though, but the Department informs that they feed on dead plants and play a major role in breaking down waste. The millipedes also recycle nutrients back into the soil at a faster rate than decomposing plants and animals.   So, why are they inside your home, on your porch or crawling up your walls?  

“After periods of drought (long dry period) or rains, millipedes may be seen in large numbers in homes and will curl into a ball when threatened to protect their soft underside. Be patient, as they will soon leave or die after being indoors for about two days since they require high levels of moisture and love damp spaces.”  

And while they are not naturally dangerous, they do have a defence which the Department of Agriculture is also informing on: “If you touch a millipede, wash your hands as they will give off chemicals that may irritate the skin and eyes. Seal windows, doors and cracks to prevent their entrance into your home. 

Next time you see a millipede, just return them outdoors where they will continue to be nature’s friendly recyclers.




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