Centipedes vs. Millipedes

May 2019

Centipedes and millipedes occupy a special place in the pest world. Unlike other common household pests, these leggy creatures aren’t insects or arachnids. Instead, centipedes and millipedes belong to myriapoda, a subphylum of terrestrial arthropods. Members of this subphylum are characterized by their long, segmented bodies, many legs, a pair of antennae, and simple, single lens eyes. These similarities often lead to centipedes and millipedes being confused for one another, when in actuality, they are quite different.


No two centipedes are the same. Some centipedes can be as short as a 1/4 of an inch, while others, such as the giant desert centipede, can measure up to 6 inches in length. They have segmented bodies with each segment containing a pair of legs. Centipedes may be dark brown, red, or yellow in color. They require moisture to survive and prefer to live in dark, humid environments. Indoors, centipedes are typically found in basements or bathrooms. Outdoors, centipedes like to hide under rocks, damp leaves, and logs.

Unlike millipedes, centipedes can be venomous. Using their maxillipeds, a modified pair of front legs, centipedes inject venom into their prey to paralyze them. Centipedes are carnivorous creatures and like to feed on cockroachesspiders, earthworms, and other small insects. As a result, they can be helpful when it comes to controlling common household pests.

Though it’s not very common, centipedes can bite people. If bitten by a centipede, you may experience a reaction similar to that of a bee sting. You should seek medical attention if you experience a severe reaction. In order to keep from getting bit, you should never pick up a centipede.


Just as no two centipedes are the same, no two millipedes are either. For example, your common millipede is typically about 1 inch in length, while the Giant African millipede can reach up to 15 inches in length. Like centipedes, millipede bodies have segments. However, millipedes have two pairs of legs per segment rather one pair. They are brown or black in color and also require moisture to survive. Millipedes may enter your home through cracks in your foundation and will typically seek out a basement or bathroom to take shelter in. More commonly, they are found outside in damp leaf litter or mulch.

Unlike centipedes, millipedes are not venomous and they do not hunt prey. Instead, millipedes are detritivores. They eat decaying leaves and plant matter. As a result, millipedes help in the recycling of nutrients, which can be beneficial to plant life and soil health. However, in dry conditions, millipedes may start feeding on your living plants, which can be a major nuisance.

How Aptive can Help

The most important step in controlling these pests is to remove what is attracting them in the first place. When you use Aptive, a knowledgeable service professional will conduct a thorough inspection of your property and determine why centipedes and millipedes are attracted to your home and yard. Additionally, they will provide you with helpful methods and suggestions to prevent centipedes and millipedes from entering your home. For example, your service professional may tell you to clean up or remove leaf piles, compost piles and other popular hiding places for centipedes and millipedes. They will also make sure your doors and windows are well-sealed, and point out any cracks or crevices that may permit entry to your home.

An Aptive professional will then develop a suitable treatment plan based on your specific needs, and will treat your property with care and respect. Once treated, an Aptive service professional will conduct a follow-up inspection and apply additional treatments if necessary.

If you notice large numbers of millipedes or centipedes on your property, call Aptive Environmental to receive a quote and schedule your service today.

Recommended Reading

How to Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans

Depending on where you live, you may be familiar with managing pest-ridden garbage cans. What many city-dwellers and suburbians don’t realize though, is how easy it is for their own trash cans to become home to opportunistic pests. Allowing bugs to live in your...

Oct 20, 2022

What to Do After a Pest Control Treatment by Aptive

Most homeowners know the importance of receiving routine pest control treatments each quarter, but not all know that the actions you take immediately following a treatment can directly determine its success. As the homeowner, make sure you’re taking full advantage...

Sep 15, 2022

Do You Need Pest Control in the Winter?

Pest control is a successful way that millions of people reduce bugs in their homes. It’s common to use pest services during warm months, but it’s just as important to stay protected and prepared during the winter. Many people actually notice an increase of...

Aug 22, 2022

What Insect Stings Hurt The Most?

Stinging insects are the worst. While you likely remember being stung by a bee or bit by a fire ant, you might be surprised to hear that these insects are on the lower end of the insect sting pain scale. In this article we’ll explore which insects have the most...

Jul 11, 2022

Is a Yellow Jacket a Bee?

Yellow jackets and bees have a lot in common when it comes to physical appearance. This can make it difficult to tell them apart, especially when one or the other is buzzing around your head. However, knowing the difference could be useful in encouraging the right...

Jun 3, 2022

Why Do Snails and Slugs Come Out After it Rains?

If you have a garden, you might know the hassle of slugs and snails eating your precious plants. While they aren’t dangerous to humans, they can slowly wreak havoc to your garden and potentially start an infestation in your home. In this article, we’ll take a...

May 25, 2022

Can Humans Get Fleas?

A common concern among pet owners is that their dogs or cats will pick up fleas. However, it's not just pets that are at risk; humans can actually get fleas too. Fleas will jump onto any animal or person that it can reach to feed on the blood it needs to survive....

Apr 23, 2022

Will My Cat Keep Mice Away?

Will mice stay away if you have cats? It’s a common belief that cats will take out any mice in or around your home. Before you run to an animal shelter to adopt a cat, read this article to learn more about the potential dangers, how cats could make your mouse...

Mar 21, 2022
DIY Pest Control Pros and Cons

DIY Pest Control Pros and Cons

When you’ve asked other people about what they do for their home pest control, you've probably had a lot of mixed responses. It seems like there are more people doing DIY pest control than ever before, and you're starting to wonder if it's something you...

Jul 19, 2021
5 Surprising Spider Superpowers

5 Surprising Spider Superpowers

Spiders can be scary creatures, but they also have special abilities that make them seem like eight-legged superheroes. In fact, they're truly marvels of nature. Even if you'd rather not have them in your home, it's easy to respect their fascinating...

Jun 10, 2021

Take back your home from pests today.

Pin It on Pinterest