Eeww! It's a new push into homes for Keys millipedes

June 18, 2014 

This is a yellow-banded millipede. They're fairly gross but harmless.

KEYSINFONET

Whether it's the increasingly warm weather or something else, some icky creepy-crawlers apparently have made a new push into Keys homes, mostly those on the ground level.

They're yellow-banded millipedes, which grow to about 4 inches long and have hundreds of legs. The can stick to doors, windows, ceilings -- anywhere -- and to many, they're just plain gross.

One person tells of having them not just meandering over obvious surfaces, but also found in a pants pocket, shoe, a kitchen-sink drain. Still, the things are harmless and, if they get in your house, live just a day. Then they curl up and die, and become crunchy when jabbed.

They're not insects. They're myriapods - essentially invertebrates with multiple body segments, each having two pair of legs. Each segment has a hard shell outlined in yellow.

Millipedes generally live in moist and dark areas under boards or flowerpots, and around spongy plants like mosses and liverworts. They consume decaying plant detritus. If they get inside, it's likely they're looking for food.

Yellow-banded millipedes were first found in the U.S. in Key West in 2001, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science. They've since found their way up Miami-Dade, Broward and other points north.

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