Pest Detective: Millipedes

In-Depth Guide to Millipede Species in the Southern United States

Millipedes are diverse and widespread across the Southern United States, including Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. The warm and humid climate of these regions supports a variety of millipede species, each with unique characteristics and behaviors. This guide delves deeper into the most common millipede species found in these states, providing insights into their identification, habitats, and ecological roles.

Common Millipede Species in the Southern States

American Giant Millipede (Narceus americanus)

  • Appearance: One of the largest species, can reach up to 4 inches in length. Typically dark brown with reddish or orange segments.
  • Habitat: Found in forested areas, often under logs, leaves, and in moist soil.
  • Behavior: Known for their slow movement and curling into a tight coil when disturbed.

Flat-backed Millipede (Polydesmida Order)

  • Appearance: Flattened body with distinct segment borders, usually dark in color.
  • Habitat: Prefers damp environments, often found under rocks, logs, and in leaf litter.
  • Behavior: When threatened, they secrete a defensive fluid that can stain skin and emit a strong odor.

Bristly Millipede (Polyxenus lagurus)

  • Appearance: Small, only about 0.8 inches long, with a distinctive bristly appearance.
  • Habitat: Commonly found in leaf litter and decaying wood, particularly in moist areas.
  • Behavior: Uses its bristles as a defense mechanism against predators.

Ivory Millipede (Chicobolus spinigerus)

  • Appearance: Notable for its creamy white to ivory coloration, with a length of up to 4 inches.
  • Habitat: Thrives in damp, wooded areas, particularly in rotting logs and under bark.
  • Behavior: More active at night, feeds on decaying plant matter.

Identifying Millipede Infestations

  • Sightings: Regular sightings of millipedes in and around the home, particularly in basements, garages, and near foundations.
  • Seasonal Activity: Increased activity during the rainy season or in periods of high humidity.

Ecological Importance of Millipedes

  • Decomposers: Millipedes play a crucial role in breaking down organic matter, aiding in soil nutrient cycling.
  • Food Source: Serve as a food source for various wildlife, including birds, small mammals, and insects.

Management of Millipede Infestations

  • Cultural Controls: Modify the environment to make it less hospitable to millipedes, such as reducing moisture and removing leaf piles.
  • Physical Barriers: Seal entry points to prevent millipedes from entering buildings.
  • Chemical Controls: Limited use of insecticides as a barrier treatment, applied by professionals.


Understanding the diversity of millipede species in the Southern United States is key to managing their presence effectively. While millipedes are generally harmless and play a beneficial role in the ecosystem, large numbers can become a nuisance.

Implementing appropriate management strategies can help balance coexisting with these fascinating creatures and keeping them out of homes and businesses.

For more detailed information on millipedes and their management, visit the Romex Pest Control Blog. Engage with our community on social media to share your experiences or ask questions about millipede species in the Southern United States. Your participation can help enrich our collective understanding of these essential invertebrates.

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