Types of Millipedes in Tennessee

As one of the most common arthropods in the United States, it doesn’t take much exploration to find a millipede in Tennessee. Millipedes are defined by a cylindrical body of usually greater than 20 segments. While millipedes don’t have one thousand legs as their name might suggest, they do have a lot of them—two sets of legs per segment. 

How can you tell which millipede is in your garden or basement? At U.S. Pest Protection, we have the answers that you need. 

American Giant Millipede

Also known as the worm millipede, North American Millipede, or iron worm, the American giant millipede is the most common millipede in Tennessee. It can grow up to four inches in length, and its exoskeleton is a dark gray color with occasional red, purple, or yellow coloring on the edge. This millipede curls into a spiral and secretes chemicals called benzoquinones when threatened. While not deadly, these can cause mild skin burns that can be particularly irritating if you get it into your eyes. Don’t handle them without gloves. 

Apheloria Virginiensis

Shorter than the American giant millipede, the millipede known as Apheloria virginiensis nevertheless can grow to two inches in length. They can be easily recognized by their yellow legs, dark brown or black exoskeleton, and orange-and-red markings that ring each segment. This Halloween-colored millipede secretes a cyanide-based chemical compound as a defense when threatened, so it is not recommended to handle these millipedes directly. Although not deadly, this secretion can be irritating and painful.

Greenhouse Millipede

Often found in greenhouses—hence its name—the greenhouse millipede is smaller than other millipedes and grows to a little less than an inch in length. It is dark brown with pale, cream-colored legs and underbelly. This millipede is also called the garden millipede, hothouse millipede, or short-flange millipede.

Other Millipede Species

While the above three species of millipede are most common in Tennessee, they aren’t the only ones you’ll find. Scientists have identified more than 10,000 different species of millipede around the world. Just remember: A millipede is slow-moving and features two pairs of jointed legs on each body segment. They come in a wide range of colors, too, from gray and brown to red and tan.

No Millipede is a Match For Our Experts

Whatever color or size of millipedes that are traversing your home or business, U.S. Pest Protection has the expert technicians and experience to make your millipede problem disappear. While our technicians only have two legs, we can get to you and your problem quickly. Don’t overthink it: Contact us at U.S. Pest Protection for a free pest estimate and the help you need.

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