Crested Millipede (34169037375) (2) by Katja Schulz (CC BY 2.0)
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A close up of a millipede Diplopoda in the soil
Crested Millipede (34169037375) (2) by Katja Schulz (CC BY 2.0)
1 of 4
Together with the Centipedes, Millipedes form a group known as Myriapoda. Millipedes tend to be more cylindrical. They also possess two pairs of legs per body segment, as opposed to just one. Likewise, most species seem to be vegetarians, feeding primarily on decaying organic matter, or plant debris. 914 species are recognised from the US and Canada.


Millipedes improve soil fertility.
Can sometimes make a plant problem worse.


Features which separate them from Centipedes: - Unlike the Centipedes, Millipedes possess two pairs of legs per segment. - The bodies tend to be cylindrical (but some can appear flat in shape). - Generally, the antennae are much shorter than centipedes, and the last pair of legs appear identical to the other legs. - Millipedes can range anywhere between 0.2-35 cm. - Most are black or brown. Some tropical species demonstrate aposematic colouration (bright and contrasting colours), a visual warning that tells predators they don't taste too great.


Heavy infestations may impact plant vigour. They may graze on fruits and vegetables that are on the ground.






Biological treatment

Millipedes rarely initiate damage in garden plants. Any damage tends to be initiated by other garden creatures. They sometimes graze the fruits of strawberry plants, as well as potato tubers and bulbs. It's advised to keep strawberries off the ground using a material such as hay or straw. Likewise, by taking the necessary precautions to lessen damage inflicted by slugs and snails, millipede activity will decrease too. Animals such as birds, hedgehogs, frogs and ground beetles prey upon millipedes. Attract these creatures to the garden by incorporating wild patches and making gaps in your fences. This way, you create corridors for beneficial wildlife to pass through and do their thing!

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