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RE: What did you do in your garden today?picked millipedes

Where are you, Stacy? We had a similar thing happen here in TN many years
ago..My husband, who did his Ph. D. thesis on millipedes (and yes, that's
what they are) was asked to investigate the cause for some poor lady whose
home was literally covered with them.

Is your house on a slope, maybe towards the top? Millipedes, like many soil
animals, cannot self regulate their body moisture. So they avoid
dessication or "drowning" by changing their location. As a result, they
move uphill when it's too wet and downhill when it's dry. Add that to
unusually large population numbers and there you go...

He published the study in the Bulletin of the Tennessee Academy of Science.
I have a reprint if you'd like. 

As to what to do..Can't help there. I'm sure there is some kind of
pesticide that will do the trick, but the plague will eventually go away on
its own.


At 11:47 AM 6/19/00 -0500, you wrote:
>I have had a recent problem, so I thought it amusing when I read people's
>posts about what they did in their garden, it all sounded like so much fun,
>and there I was picking a million millipedes off of my house (I think they
>came up as a result of the three inches of rain we had) and out of every
>nook and cranny in the garden.
>Dan, you are an expert, maybe you can help me with this problem.
>They are little, about an inch long, and they are either centi- or
>milli-pedes.  They congregate together and seem to relish decaying matter
>of any kind.  I have never seen such an infestation in all my life.  Is it
>because of repeatedly amending the soil, or perhaps the lack of a certain
>predator?  I think that since we water a lot (not really close to the
>house, but in the gardens we do) and have gotten a lot of rain lately that
>has helped them too.  The most annoying is that they get into the garage,
>and all you hear is crunch crunch under your feet.  HELP!
>Yours, covered with these bugs,
>Stacy Holtzman
>Howard Hughes Medical Institute
>Bloomington, Indiana Z5b
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