The Black Portuguese millipede is an herbivorous (plant eater) millipede native to Portugal. This species was accidentally introduced into Australia, first recorded in WA in 1986, where it has since become an invasive pest. Lacking natural predators in Australia, the black Portuguese millipede has thrived to ‘plague’ proportions. They have been known to enter residences due to their sheer numbers.
As a defense mechanism, the millipede secretes a pungent yellowish fluid containing hydrogen cyanide which irritates eyes and stains clothes permanently. Due to this defence mechanism, it is advised that people sweep them up rather than crushing them.
Always use a registered insecticide, the insecticide must have the millipede symbol/image on the label.
Millipedes can be easily treated with a direct spray of aerosol insecticide. Preventing the entry of millipedes in and around premises is best done by treating the outer perimeter of the premises with a barrier insecticide, a good coverage at ground level and around possible entry points is recommended.
Note: When using a registered pesticide, always follow the directions on the label. If poisoning occurs, contact the Poisons Information Centre on 131126.