Page Header Image

Spring Pest Series: Legs for Days

Millipedes and Centipedes

Ok, so maybe millipedes don’t actually have a thousand legs, even though their name implies they do. But both millipedes and centipedes do have lots of legs—typically 30 or more pair each. Spring is the season for all multi-legged insects to awake, and chances are high that you’ll start finding them in your yard and home.

Millipedes vs. Centipedes

Both millipedes and centipedes are light brown to black, are about an inch long, and have lots of legs. After that there are some significant differences. Millipedes are cylinder shaped. They move slowly and feed on plants. When they’re disturbed they tend to curl up and can release a yucky-smelling secretion. Centipedes, on the other hand, have flat bodies and can move faster. The house centipede has long legs and can is a fast mover, preying on other insects and spiders. Unlike the millipede, centipedes can inject their prey with venom like that of a spider. Although most are too small to penetrate human skin, the house centipede and a few other species can cause a wound that is similar to a bee sting.

Both creatures thrive in damp places. You’ll frequently find them under rocks, leaves, mulch, and log piles. They especially love wooded areas. When conditions become less than suitable outside, they like to migrate in mass into homes. They come in searching for moisture, shelter, and food, and besides the house centipede (which true to its name can thrive in your home), often die indoors.

To prevent these multi-legged pests from invading your space, it is helpful to control all of their spider and insect food sources. Here are some tips to help protect your home and yard:

  • Inspect and seal all foundation cracks with caulk. Apply weather stripping to your doors and windows. Install screens on the outside of each vent.
  • Maintain your lawn and yard. Dethatch and mow your lawn often, as millipedes love to hide in long grass. Long grass also harbors more moisture, which draws all sorts of insects. Water your lawn in the morning instead of at night, when millipedes are especially active.
  • Eliminate insect hiding places. Remove any piles of dead leaves or other yard debris. Organic matter (such as mulch) should not be close to your home’s foundation. Keep shrubbery pruned so that air can circulate well through all the leaves, eliminating moist conditions.
  • Check your rain gutters. Try and keep them free of debris, and make sure that rain water is being directed away from your home as much as possible.
  • Keep indoor spaces dry. Pay attention to places where moisture may be gathering without your notice, especially basements and cellars.

If you do find millipedes or centipedes inside your home, you can sweep or vacuum them up. If the problem continues, you may want to consider partnering your efforts with a professional. Here at Pointe Pest Control, we can identify problem areas and help eliminate any and all pest invaders from your home safely and effectively. Call us today.