Centipedes and millipedes are two common household pests that are often mistaken for each other. How can you tell them apart? How can you tell if they’ve infested your home? Learn the difference between centipedes and millipedes, along with tips to prevent both of them from taking over your home.
Centipedes have elongated, flat, segmented bodies with 1 pair of legs per segment. They can have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs. They have long antennae on their heads, as well. They can come in a variety of colors but the most common species are either brown or reddish-orange. These pests are attracted to damp, dark areas like basements, bathrooms, and closets.
Centipedes are nocturnal and can move very fast, making them hard to spot by homeowners. In fact, the only real sign of centipedes in your home is spotting live pests.
You can prevent centipedes from infesting by:
- Eliminating moisture. Repair leaks and use dehumidifiers to keep moisture levels down.
- Eliminating clutter. Keeping your home free of clutter gets rid of potential hiding places centipedes can use.
- Eliminating openings. Centipedes will get in through cracks, gaps, and holes in the exterior of your home. Sealing these up will help keep them out.
- Vacuuming them up. An easy way to get rid of centipedes you come across is to vacuum them up and dispose of them immediately.
Millipedes have long, cylindrical bodies with 2 rows of legs on their bodies and 1 row of legs on the front of their bodies. They grow to about 1 to 2 inches in length. These pests will curl into a ball when touched or threatened. They prefer dark, damp spaces and are often found under wood piles, under rocks, and under trashcans. When they come indoors, they can often be found in attics, basements, sheds, and crawlspaces. These pests eat damp and decaying wood particles and plants.
Millipedes are also nocturnal so spotting them can be difficult. Signs of millipedes include seeing live pests in your home and signs of structural damage. These pests will eat damp or decaying wood so look out for damage to firewood, cardboard boxes, etc.
You can prevent millipedes from infesting by:
- Eliminating water. They are attracted to moisture so repair leaks and get rid of standing water. Use dehumidifiers when necessary.
- Eliminating food sources. Store firewood away from your home. Replace or repair water damaged wood as soon as possible.
- Clean up outdoors. Keep mulch, pine straw, leaves, etc. away from your foundations.
- Seal them out. Caulk any cracks, crevices, gaps, and holes to keep them from coming in.
Although centipedes and millipedes don’t pose a significant threat to humans or homes, they can be a nuisance to have around. Routine pest control can help keep these, and other common household pests, from taking over your home. Contact your local pest control company for an inspection.