bigesox(Chicago)June 26, 2005

Am using black plastic for mulch, and when I look underneath there are a dozen or so centipedes. Also a lot of tiny gnat-like creatures. Read somewhere that centipedes feed on the roots of tomato plants, but some feed on small flies. Do I have 2 pests, 1 pest and 1 predator, or nothing to worry about at present? The plants are healthy, other than a few old flea beetle holes(I won that battle). While trying to not answer my own question about not worrying as the plants seem fine, I'm just wondering if I need a pre-emptive strike against the 'pedes in order to prevent problems later. Anybody here had a problem with them in the past/present?



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It may be millipedes. I don't know if millipedes eat plant matter or not. Centipedes are predators.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 2:54PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Centipedes are predators.

Millipedes eat decaying organic matter but *not* fresh plant material.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 10:37PM
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Both critters are harmless the centipede can and will bite you so watch out and donÂt let it crawl on you. The millipede as far as I know does not hurt at all.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 4:48PM
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Thanks for the info, Jean. I'm not the expert on millipedes and centipedes as I am on Lepidoptera, but I do have a great appreciation for all land-dwelling arthropods.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 12:28AM
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Ok hereÂs the low down
(Symphylans) garden centipedes
Symphilids have bodies broken up into 14 segments and move about on12 pairs of legs,
(Bad) eats and sucks juice from plants young roots.

Chilopoda centipedes
1 pair of legs on each segment
(Good) They are the predators
They feed nocturnally on soil insects and millipedes.

(Bad) When you happen upon these thousand-legged critters they coil up like the main spring of a watch. They donÂt actually have a thousand legs, but start off with 3 pairs of legs and gradually grow 200 pairs.
The number of body legs and body segments is increased with each molt.
Sexual maturity is reached after seven to ten molts, tacking place over a two to five year period, they normally eat decaying plant material, but may attack roots and stems of plants to obtain water during dry spells. Once they start feeding they may not stop, as the week sugar solution in the sap is appealing to them. "I guess you could put out a water bowl for them". (Add sugar)

This whole thing goes on and on and they donÂt like manure or peat compost.
I like millipedes my self and have no inclination to kill them.
This information was taken from an organic plant protection book and is not for sale.
It is for the benefit of the folks that read this post.
For more information I suggest that you all check out bug books the World Wide Web or what ever method you like. I just wanted to clear up any confusion that there may be on these lovely little (sometimes big) critters.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 1:46PM
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I have a Cedar tree which I grew from a seed. It stands about eighteen inches tall and has been doing fantastically, until now. The leaves have brown tips on them and there are lots of centipedes running around in the pot. As far as I can tell, the two correspond with one another. How do I kill them / make them leave?

I have considered covering the plant / pot and "gassing" it with dry ice (CO2, to displace all the oxygen) but this seems involved. Is there an easier way?

Also, I'm new to the forum.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 4:45PM
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