What are centipedes and millipedes?

Centipedes and millipedes are often confused with each other. Aside from the fact that they both have many legs, these pests are very different.


  • Not all centipedes have 100 legs; depending on the species, they can have 15 to 173 body segments with one pair of legs per segment.
  • They have a long flat body with a hard exoskeleton and long antennae.
  • They are predators that move quickly to catch their prey.


  • They don't actually have a thousand legs, but some species can have over 700. However, in North America, you will likely only see millipedes with no more than 100 legs. Each body segment has two pairs of legs, which are jointed.
  • They have a round-worm-like body, hard exoskeleton, and short antenna.
  • They are decomposers that consume decaying organic matter.

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Are centipedes and millipedes dangerous?

Centipedes and millipedes are mostly considered nuisance pests. However, if they infest your home or property, they can cause the following problems:

  • Centipedes can deliver a painful bite if threatened, but their venom won't affect someone unless allergic. In any case, you should avoid touching this pest.
  • Most millipede species contain hydrochloride acid, which can burn and discolor the skin but is not poisonous to people except in large quantities. It is best to avoid touching this pest as it can cause irritation and be dangerous to the eyes.

The presence of these pests in your home can indicate a moisture and mold problem, which is more dangerous than the pests, themselves.

Why do I have a centipede and millipede problem?

These pests prefer to be outside, living in dark, moist places. However, they can make their way inside if drastic changes in the weather occur, including excess rain or drought. Other variables that attract these pests into a home include food sources. For millipedes, decomposing organic material can bring these pests into your home, and centipedes may follow other insects inside.

Where will I find centipedes and millipedes?

In your yard, you can find centipedes and millipedes under rocks, leaf and grass piles, rotting logs, and other organic debris. Once they make their way inside, they look for similar damp areas, which is why they mostly gravitate to basements, crawl spaces, bathrooms, and closets.

How do I get rid of centipedes and millipedes?

If you have these pests in your home, you should contact us at Pest Control Experts. We provide a thorough inspection to identify:

  • Interior pest activity
  • Exterior entry points
  • Damage-causing pest issues
  • Conducive conditions

We use a tailored approach to understand what your property needs to keep centipedes, millipedes, and other pests out of your home. We will use different products that fight the current and following season's pest pressures. We will place monitors to check for activity and use botanically-based products inside exclusively. Give the Birmingham exterminator professionals at Pest Control Experts a call to get started with home pest control or commercial pest control services.

How can I prevent centipedes and millipedes in the future?

To keep centipedes and millipedes out of your home, you should focus on reducing moisture and entry points:

  • Reduce moisture by repairing leaks, clearing gutters, removing water-damaged wood, and using dehumidifiers in areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Keep your yard clear of debris such as leaf piles and remove plants and weeds near your foundation.
  • Remove entry points by sealing cracks in the foundation, filling gaps around wiring and plumbing, and repairing any damaged screens.