The Difference Between a Millipede vs. Centipede | Insight Pest Solutions

The Difference Between a Millipede vs. Centipede

August 21, 2020

Have you ever noticed the long creepy, crawly creatures roaming around your yard that seem to have a million legs? You’ve, unfortunately, encountered either a millipede or a centipede. Millipedes, contrary to popular belief, aren’t insects – they are small arthropods, which means that they have an exoskeleton, several body segments, and jointed legs. Each of their segments has two sets of legs, and despite them being named “milli”pedes, they can have anywhere from 80 to 400 legs. 

Now, before we mentioned that you may have seen either a millipede or a centipede, but what are differences between the two species?

What is the Difference Between a Millipede and a Centipede?

Both millipedes and centipedes are made up of tiny segments that have legs attached to them. At first glance, they look remarkably similar, but there are some marked differences between them.

Millipedes have two sets of legs per segment that are positioned directly underneath their bodies. Their bodies are also more rounded and they have small antennae attached to their heads. Lastly, millipedes eat decomposing plant matter and will coil into a ball and secret a noxious odor if they feel threatened by predators. 

Centipedes, on the other hand, generally have fewer legs overall than their similar-looking counterparts. They only have one set of legs per body segment, and those legs are positioned on the sides of their relatively flat bodies. Centipedes typically feed on small insects by injecting them with their venom. When threatened, centipedes will bite and run away from the predator. Luckily, their bite isn’t harmful to humans.

Are Millipedes and Centipedes Dangerous?

Millipedes are not a danger to humans, but if you get the foul-smelling fluid that they secret when threatened on your skin, you’ll need to wash it off quickly or it can cause skin irritation. In the same vein, a centipede bite is also not dangerous to humans.

Can Millipedes and Centipedes Damage Your Home?

Generally, neither millipedes nor centipedes cause damage to homes or other structures because they don’t feed on any building materials. But, millipedes can destroy a garden if they are left to feed on the plant matter without intervention.

These creatures typically enter homes because they are seeking moisture. This is why you are more likely to see millipedes in and around your home after a storm and not when it’s particularly hot outside. They are prone to drying out and dying if they aren’t around moisture because they lack the waxy coating that other pests, like spiders, have that keeps moisture in.  

So, if you see a millipede or centipede in your home, it’s most likely because your bathroom, kitchen, or crawl space is very moist and they are trying to get to those areas. Infestations are rare, but they can happen, so it’s important to make sure that you keep your home in tip-top condition in order to prevent them.

How to Get Rid of These Multi-Legged Pests

If you see millipedes or centipedes in or around your home, they aren’t necessarily causing damage, but they can cause you grief. In large numbers, these pests can be hard to control, so you’ll need to call in a professional and effective pest control company to handle this problem.

If you need help dealing with millipedes and centipedes, or any pest control problem, give Insight Pest Solutions a call. We’re ready and able to tackle even the most difficult pest issue, so don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re standing by – call today or schedule a free consultation online today!

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