Centipedes and millipedes look alike and are common home pests all around the world. They are also found in Coachella Valley and can be crawling under your carpet right now!
However, you have nothing to worry about as these are not lethal. So, you can take a breath and read our centipede vs. millipede comparison to learn how to differentiate between the two. We will discuss their physical appearance and how you can recognize the unwanted guests in your house.

Additionally, we will also tell you how to eliminate and keep them away from your home.


Centipede vs. millipede: noticeable differences

You can identify between a centipede and a millipede by their appearance, where they live, food they eat, and more. We will take up each factor in detail to better understand what to look for.

1. Physical appearance

What does a centipede look like?

A centipede looks like an earthworm but has a segmented body. It crawls very fast and may sport different patterns on its body segments. They have multiple legs that grow away from the body. Now, how many legs does a centipede have?

A centipede has a pair of legs on each body segment that can be between 15 to over 100. Therefore, a centipede’s legs can range between 30 and over 100. Hence the name ‘centipede’ meaning a hundred legs!

What does a millipede look like?

A millipede looks like a centipede and also has a segmented body. However, it has two pairs of legs on each body segment, whereas centipedes have only one pair. Additionally, the legs of millipedes point towards the ground instead of spreading out.

You can also distinguish between centipedes and millipedes by their behavior. Centipedes will crawl away when they sense human presence. Millipedes, on the other hand, will curl up and stay at the same place.

2. Size

Both centipedes and millipedes vary greatly in size. The smallest centipede can be 1 cm or 0.4 inches long, while the largest can reach up to 30 cm or 12 inches.
Giant centipedes can even hunt and eat small mammals.

On the other hand, Millipedes range between 0.20 cm or 0.08 inches and 27 cm or 11 inches.

3. Habitat

Centipedes and millipedes live on the land and are present everywhere except Antarctica. They can live in both dry and humid conditions, though centipedes prefer dry habitats more. You can also find centipedes in the desert.

Millipedes, on the contrary, like to stay in moist environments. They are common in forests, grasslands, and even your washroom. You can also find millipedes under the soil and deep in mountain caves.

4. Food source

Centipedes are carnivorous predators and live off small insects and pests. They use their claws to poison their prey and hunt them.

Millipedes eat rotting plant materials like leaves. They do not hunt or kill other insects.

Closeup of centipede

Are house centipedes poisonous?

Are centipedes dangerous? Do they bite you? What about those that enter our houses?
You can give a rest to your worries as centipedes are not dangerous. However, they can still bite you, and larger ones may puncture your skin to release venom. But their poison is not lethal, and the bite feels like a wasp sting.

Therefore, you are better off not handling those creepy crawlies by yourself. Also, centipedes will crawl away quickly once they detect human presence. So, it’s rare to get bitten by a house centipede.

Closeup of millipede

Are house millipedes poisonous?

Now comes the question, are millipedes poisonous?

You will be relieved to know house millipedes are neither dangerous nor poisonous. In addition, they do not bite humans or cause any discomfort. However, they do release small amounts of chemicals as a defense mechanism when irritated. The chemicals can contain poison, such as cyanide, although in very small quantities.

As a result, you have nothing to fear about millipedes. You can handle them safely, but ensure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward to remove any chemicals.


How to get rid of centipedes and millipedes

Here are a few ways you can use to drive away centipedes and millipedes from your home:

1. Kill the creepy crawlies

You can try a few methods if you want to kill centipedes or millipedes present in your house. Your local hardware store will have insecticides that exterminate them instantly. You can also try natural insect killers like boric acid, soapy water, and cayenne pepper.

2. Use your vacuum cleaner

You can simply use your vacuum cleaner to get rid of centipedes. Plus, it works well for hiding spots where you cannot easily reach. Look to vacuum out all the corners and crevices in your home, so you can suck these arthropods no matter where they are hiding.
Just ensure to dispose of your dust bag far away from home!

3. Use sticky traps

You can lay sticky traps around your house to catch millipedes and centipedes. They are also great for catching other pests that lurk around in your home.


How to prevent centipedes and millipedes

Try the following so that these pests never return to your home:

  • Use a dehumidifier to keep your home dry
  • Seal all cracks in walls and floors
  • Clean all hiding places around your house
  • Get rid of clutter where they can hide
  • Eliminate other pests that attract centipedes


Final thoughts

We hope you now know how to differentiate between a centipede vs. millipede. You can also try the ways we highlighted to get rid of them. However, for serious infestations, seek help from a professional pest control agency. You can contact us for residential pest control to get a free estimate.