These are looooooong bugs that generally have round, worm-like bodies with lots of tiny legs. Most are very small, but depending on your area, they can reach up to 12 inches or more in length such as the Giant African Millipedes (Archispirostreptus gigas) found in East Africa! They are generally nocturnal and hide in leaf litter and soil during the day.
Though often confused with the predacious centipedes, most millipedes are considered detritivores feeding on leaf litter or other dead plant matter. There have been some reports of millipedes feeding on garden plants, but damage is generally minimal.
These can be active year round, depending on your location. They are not typically active during cooler temperatures.
Millipedes occur on all continents except Antarctica.
Millipedes prefer warm and moist environments, which is present in most gardens and greenhouses.
To keep these little house keepers around, keep pesticide use to a minimum. However, to keep a nice balance, make sure to keep compost and leaf piles away from your tomatoes as this can create an overabundance of millipedes. Anything in excess can be a nuisance!
There is often quite a bit of confusion between millipedes and centipedes but it is important to know the difference! Centipedes are venomous predators that can be welcomed sights in your gardens as they eat on many unwanted bugs. Centipedes are long like millipedes but often have flat bodies with thick muscular legs that are at the sides of their bodies. They are VERY fast and should not be handled as many can have a very painful.