Millipede problems mount in East Texas

Millipedes are showing up again in East Texas.
Millipedes are showing up again in East Texas.(KLTV)
Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 3:39 PM CDT
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HAWKINS, Texas (KLTV) - ‘Oxidus Gracilis’, or the greenhouse millipede, is a common species in Texas, and this year its ‘very’ noticeable.

Some East Texans have seen a mild ‘home invasion’ of the crawlers.

Many are seeing millipedes on walls and around baseboards. And experts say they’re everywhere for a good reason.

“An above average rainfall. It gets too moist and too waterlogged in the soil and they are trying to escape,” says Dr. Lindsay Porter of Stephen F. Austin university.

“Weather. We had so much rain it’s forced them out of the places they hide. When it gets flooded, they’re not aquatic,” says entomologist Dr. Ray Thompson.

But insect experts say it’s not a population explosion. Millipedes are around us all the time. They’re attracted to decaying material.

“They are mostly feeding off of decaying plant matter, that’s what their food source is. They are kind of the nutrient recycling of the eco-system,” Porter says.

Workers at ‘Ace Hardware’ in Hawkins, some who have millipedes in their homes, say they’ve had people coming in concerned about the intruders.

“Several people have come in, especially last week, because that’s when I started seeing them at my house,” says worker Marlena Saballa.

Millipedes don’t carry diseases, but in numbers can be an annoyance.

“It’s tough because you just get tired of seeing it and I’m having to sweep every day. And I’m squishing them,” Saballa says.

Though they are not venomous, they can create a mild problem.

“If you have a young child and they were trying to handle them, they do secrete a chemical that can be irritating to the skin,” Dr. Porter says.

Whether you spray or not, the problem should be short lived.

“As it becomes dryer, they will move back to their normal hiding places,” Thompson says.

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