Homeowner makes concerning find in backyard after heavy rain

As heavy rain continues to pour down on the east coast of Australia, one homeowner made an alarming discovery in the backyard of his Melbourne home.

And according to Professor Ary Hoffmann from Melbourne University, it's a pretty common find after wet weather, but one we should be aware of.

"Help — place is suddenly swarmed with these little centipede-like insects. Any ideas what these are and how to get rid of them?" the homeowner pleaded on Reddit.

A photo of the insects shows dozens of them invading his backyard fence. In the comments, the man, from Melbourne's northeast, revealed they're also covering his house, driveway and footpath.

Portuguese millipedes in Melbourne home after rain
A Melbourne man's home was invaded by insects following heavy rain. Source: Reddit

Although he didn't want to hurt them by wiping them out for good, the Melbourne man wasn't too pleased about them invading his home.

People in the comments said they're most likely Portuguese centipedes which come out after rainfall and are pretty harmless.

"It's been raining a lot so they come out from the damp earth. Just leave them," one said.

"Must be because of the recent floods, give it a few days and they will go back and hide in the dirt," said another.

Are Portuguese millipedes a problem?

Prof Hoffmann told Yahoo News Australia that while he can't see the pictures clearly enough, "they likely are" Portuguese millipedes which are pretty common.

But he warns, "they are really regarded as a nuisance pest" and there're a few reasons.

Portuguese millipedes are an invasive species in southern Australia, but they've become widespread since the 1980s.

Portuguese millipedes in Melbourne home
Portuguese millipedes are considered household pests but are harmless to humans and pets. Source: Reddit

"They are mostly harmless and tend to feed on detritus but can damage seedlings of crops sometimes," he told Yahoo News Australia.

"They can be common after rainfall when the soil is saturated and this leads to them being common in spring and autumn."

Can they be dangerous for pets?

They're also a nuisance to household pets, although not dangerous to them.

"Millipedes typically give off an odour so pets avoid them," he explained.

"I’ve seen dogs and cats sniffing them but then move away from them."

Another social media user explained this further saying they "secrete a pungent, unpleasant, yellowish liquid if you squish them".

Prof Hoffman said you could "probably just leave them" if you notice an invasion at your home, adding "they will disappear quite soon".

"They are susceptible to pesticides though if there is plant damage," he said.

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