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Mrs. Foote Attacked By Millipedes
Status: Real
Recently the South Australia Sunday Mail reported on the case of Mrs. Foote, an elderly woman who is under attack by millipedes:

AN elderly Kapunda woman says she feels as though she is living in an Alfred Hitchcock movie - under attack by thousands of writhing millipedes... "Every morning, I get a broom and have to sweep my way out of the front veranda to go and pick up the newspaper, I'm sick and tired of sweeping up." Mrs Foote said the creepy crawlies now encircled her house, despite numerous calls to the Light Regional Council for help.

The reporter probably got a chuckle out of the lady's name, but the millipede invasion itself is real. Australian newspapers are reporting that regions in South Australia are suffering from massive invasions of Portuguese millipedes. The Advertiser shares a few facts about this pest:

The Portuguese millipede first appeared in South Australia in 1953 at Port Lincoln. It probably came from either the eastern states or direct from Europe. Millipedes were not recorded in Perth until the 1980s... The Portuguese species found the cool, wet winters of Adelaide so suitable that its numbers increased rapidly... In the 1970s, the numbers of millipedes in the Adelaide Hills were so huge that people would remove bucket-loads of millipedes from their houses every day. The Belair-to-Adelaide railway line was regularly stopped because the oil from squashed millipedes made the track too slippery to carry the trains... The then Department of Agriculture tried a number of biological control methods, with a parasitic nematode the most successful. Since the release of the nematode in the late 1970s, millipede numbers have slowly reduced, although they are still the most common animal in the suburban garden.

(via the rambler)
Animals
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 19, 2006
Alex, I bow before you. I'm still hoping beyond hope that it's all a bad dream. The two movies that pop in my head are the bug scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and in the latest King Kong when Naomi Watts is trapped in the hollow log with the giant centipedes.
Posted by Mark  on  Thu Apr 20, 2006  at  01:52 PM
Those bloody millipedes! They are the bane of my existance. I also feel like I'm being surrounded by them as there are just everywhere. I've found that a pesticide called coopex kills them but it sells out so fast in winter that you have a waiting list of a month before you can get it here. Also tomato dust is quite effective.
But I sympathise with Mrs Foote as I know exactly how she feels.
Posted by Nettie  in  Perth, Western Australia  on  Fri Apr 21, 2006  at  07:26 AM
Having just returned from the Barossa (Angaston), I can say these millipedes are a nightmare for people living there. It will be a day to remember when those pests can be eradicated!
Posted by Barbara  in  Sydney, Australia  on  Mon Apr 24, 2006  at  04:57 AM
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