Pest Control and Bug Exterminator Blog

Informative Interesting Perspectives about Bug Exterminators and The Pest Control Industry

Centipedes & Millipedes

Centipede

Centipede (Photo credit: Janielle Beh)

Centipedes

Size: Centipedes are very long and narrow, and flattened from top to bottom. There may be a great many pairs of legs, but they will have a single pair on each segment of the body, separating them from millipedes. They have a pair of very long antennae and the last pair of legs projects backward and are much longer than the ones before it. Most centipedes measure about two inches however, a couple species can grow to six inches or longer.

Color: Color is usually dark reddish brown, although some may have a blue-green tint on a tan background.

Habits: Centipedes are generally nocturnal and hide outdoors under boards, rocks, or vegetation during the day. Indoors, they are usually found on baseboards and around doorways and windows, wandering on walls in crawl spaces, basements or garages.

Diet: Centipedes are nocturnal and come out at night to eat spiders, insects, earthworms and snails.

Reproduction: Females lay their eggs one at a time, burying them under a shallow layer of soil to protect them from being eaten by other insects and male centipedes. Some species live up to six years.

Other Information: Centipedes can inject venom through a pair of appendages directly behind the head.

Millipede rolled up in self-defense

Millipede rolled up in self-defense (Photo credit: Joel Abroad)

Millipedes

Size: Millipedes can grow anywhere from 1/4 inch to more than 4 inches in length.

Color: Millipedes are brown or black and have two pair of legs on each body segment unlike centipedes, which have one pair per segment.

Habits: Millipedes are slow crawling, round bodied pests that are harmless to humans. They do exude an unpleasant smelling secretion, which is made up of a combination of irritating chemicals that can cause skin rashes and may be toxic to small animals. Millipedes lose body fluids as they die, causing staining on indoor surfaces. Some millipedes live as long as eight years. Millipedes can live indoors in crawl spaces and basements or wherever moisture is present.

Diet: Millipedes are vegetarians and feed on decaying organic matter and live plants.

Reproduction: Millipedes lay their eggs in spring in the soil in batches of 20 to 300 eggs. Their populations can become quite large, reaching into the thousands when they have adequate food and plenty of moisture.

Other Information: Millipedes protect themselves by rolling into a tight coil when disturbed, protecting their vulnerable ventral parts. When their living conditions deteriorate, they migrate to new areas, sometimes in large numbers.