Millipedes and centipedes may look the same at first glance but there are differences between them. Neither will damage your home, but both may leave a stain if crushed. During the late summer and fall, they will leave the soil and leaf litter outside and crawl into our homes looking for shelter over the winter. Centipedes and millipedes will stay inside until spring where they will emerge from the cracks and crevices where they spent the winter. They do not carry diseases that affect people, animals or plants.
Differences in Appearance, Diet & Habitat of Centipedes & Millipedes
Centipedes and millipedes are both thin and long arthropods with lots and lots of legs. Centipedes move quickly, have mandibles that can give a venomous bite and only have one pair of legs per body segment while millipedes move slowly, do not have a venomous bite and have two legs per body segment. Both centipedes and millipedes resemble insects but are classified as arthropods because they have many sections whereas, insects have three body segments. Centipedes are carnivores and kill their prey by injecting them with venom. They feed on soft-bodied insects like worms, spiders and other arthropods. Millipedes are scavengers and prefer to feed on organic matter like decaying leaves and wood. Centipedes can be found under stones and boards, under moist wood, sticks and leaf litter while millipedes prefer areas where there are mulch, leaves and moist wood chips.
Defensive Behavior of Centipedes & Millipedes
The bite of a centipede can kill small prey but is not usually life-threatening to humans. Millipedes do not have stingers but will use secretions that are produced in order to protect themselves. Millipedes will also curl their bodies as a defense mechanism. Centipedes will on occasion bite humans, but a severe reaction to their venom is rare. That being said, anyone who has allergies, the elderly or small children should be monitored after a centipede bite. If there seems to be a reaction or you are concerned, you should contact a medical professional.
Centipede & Millipede Prevention
Preventing and controlling both of these pests is pretty much the same. Killing or capturing them when you see them is one way to control them. You can also use a spray to kill them or simply step on them. Sticky traps work well too. Because centipedes will feed on other insects, you need to eliminate them from your home. Keeping your house dry will prevent them from finding a home inside yours, so the drier you keep your home, the better. All entrances to your home should be sealed off, so walk around with a caulking gun in hand to seal up any cracks and check around any plumbing, cables, and wires that enter your home. It’s also a good idea to install door sweeps as this will not only keep centipedes and millipedes out but other pests as well.
Professional Centipede and Millipede Control
If you find yourself spotting more of these pests than you would like, Rentokil can help. Give us a call today.
Compare & Contrast of Occasional Pest Invader Centipedes & Millipedes in Park City, UT in Salt Lake County and Northern Utah
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