What are centipedes and millipedes?

What are centipedes and millipedes? Centipedes and millipedes are part of the arthropod family and live in moist areas. They are nocturnal creatures that hunt spiders and insects at night. They are worm-like creatures with many body segments and even more legs. Centipedes can have anywhere between 15-177 pairs of legs depending on the species with one pair per body segment. Millipedes can have up to 200 pairs of legs with two pairs per body segment. Centipedes and millipedes are very rarely seen inside homes, with the exception of the House Centipede. It has very long legs and can breed in basements and crawl spaces. Indoors, the House Centipede will usually be seen around doorways, windows, and near baseboards. They may be seen wandering in the basement, in garages, on walls, in crawl spaces, and sometimes in used rooms of the house. Unlike House Centipedes, most centipedes and millipedes keep to the outdoors. They like to keep moist and will oftentimes be found in protected areas like landscape mulch as well as beneath items in contact with soil.


Centipedes, although not usually considered a dangerous pests, actually can be quite dangerous and should be treated with precaution. Centipedes hunt by biting their prey and have the ability to bite through a person's skin. They kill their prey by injecting them with toxins (venom) and the same thing happens when they bite a person. Although their bite is quite painful and they do have venom, the venom isn't quite strong enough to cause any serious health problems. The worst pain caused by the bite and is usually mild pain and swelling. Due to their painful bites and venom, purposefully handling centipedes is discouraged.

Millipedes, unlike centipedes, are not dangerous as they are non-venomous and are usually considered non-poisonous. They usually don’t harm people or property and are annoying to deal with. Although the majority of millipedes are completely harmless, there are some millipedes that produce an irritating fluid from the glands that are located on the sides of their bodies. These fluids can cause minor irritation to sensitive skin that has come into contact with large amounts of these fluids by unknowingly crushing multiple millipedes. This fluid is also extremely irritating to the eyes. For the most part millipedes are simply nuisance pests, however, they can cause some irritations. Infestations should be handled by professionals.


Centipedes and millipedes are attracted to moist areas, areas that have vegetation, and mulch areas. The food sources they go after consist of decaying plant debris and organic matter. It is very rare to see centipedes or millipedes in areas with little moisture, and when you do they are typically dead due to drying out. Basements and crawl spaces offer ideal living conditions because of their moisture content. In some cases they migrate, and a large amount of these insects can be found around moist areas. These migrations typically take place because living conditions have changed for them. These condition changes can be as simple as moisture reducing to an extremely low level, or rising to the point of inhabitation. Another reason they could migrate is because they have exceeded the population threshold and are seeking new food sources. For these reasons you could see them up here inside your home.


The biggest key and prevention of millipede and centipede infestation is to reduce breeding sites and areas of harborage. This is especially important around the foundation of your home and continual maintenance of these areas is key. Mulch, leaf debris, heavy vegetation and rocky areas exposed to moisture are common areas to find millipedes and centipedes. Regularly checking for cracks and crevices in the foundation of your home as well as maintaining thresholds, seals and windows is an important part of home maintenance to prevent bugs. Things can become difficult when trying to combat migration of millipedes and centipedes. Professional services may be necessary, and Recon is here to provide that service.


Q: How are millipedes and centipedes getting into my home?

A: A common reason you will see these bugs is due to migrations of large populations. It is also common to see them in areas where moisture could be prominent.

Q: How can I determine if I have millipedes and centipedes on my property?

A: Seeking out areas of moisture, inspecting areas where plants grow heavily, looking under mulch beds, and finding areas where rocks lay are all ideal inspection points.

Q: Will watering my lawn or garden cause an infestation?

A: This depends primarily on the area surrounding the watered plants. If it’s suited heavily for moisture to be retained, then it’s more likely. Give us a call if you need help determining this.

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Servicing customers in the Metro Omaha Area from Lincoln to Bellevue Nebraska

Recon Pest Services
9989 J Street
Omaha, NE 68127
Phone: 402-227-3266
Omaha Metro Area