Centipede & Millipede Identification & Prevention

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Millipede on wood branches

What are centipedes and millipedes?

Centipedes and millipedes are arthropods and commonly migrate into our homes, searching for a damp place to live. We refer to these pests as "occasional invaders." They live most of their lives outside but occasionally use our homes and other man-made structures as a place of respite.

The name centipede means "100 legs"; however, that number varies; most centipedes have between 15 and 191 pairs of legs. A centipede has a segmented worm-like body that is brown and flattened from top to bottom. Each body segment contains one pair of legs.

Millipedes are smaller and slower moving than centipedes, and while their bodies are elongated, they have a more cylindrical shape than a centipede. Millipedes are dark brown or black and also have segmented bodies. At least two pairs of legs extend from the body segments of millipedes.

Use this pest guide to learn about centipedes and millipedes and keep unwanted pests out of your home.

Are centipedes and millipedes dangerous?

Certain centipedes can bite humans. They bite to defend themselves from being squished or otherwise harmed. While their bites aren't particularly dangerous, they can be quite painful; think bee sting.

Avoiding contact with millipedes is important and, luckily, easy because of how slow they move. To defend themselves, millipedes spray a "toxic" fluid from glands on the sides of their bodies. The fluid can cause an unpleasant, irritating skin reaction on people.

Why do I have a centipede and millipede problem?

Both millipedes and centipedes prefer to live outside in dark, damp areas like under mulch, woodpiles, brush piles, fallen trees, landscaping ties, and rocks. Often our Omaha yards offer them the perfect habitat to call home.

Because they have high moisture needs, they will migrate to an environment that better suits their needs if their outdoor habitat becomes too hot and dry. Millipedes and centipedes living near the perimeter of our homes often migrate into our houses. They enter at ground level through small openings they find in the foundation or gaps under basement doors.

Where will I find centipedes and millipedes?

The high moisture needs of millipedes and centipedes cause them to inhabit the naturally damp areas of our homes.

Basements, crawl spaces, cabinets under sinks, and storage boxes are places most likely to become a home to these leggy invaders.

Finding centipedes and millipedes in our homes is unpleasant. However, the bigger problem is that if they are getting into your house, so can other types of pests. When pests like cockroaches, spiders, and termites get into your home, they can cause serious problems like structural damage, food contamination, and the spread of diseases.

How do I get rid of centipedes and millipedes?

If you are finding centipedes, millipedes, or other common household pests in your home, the best solution is to partner with a professional that can offer local pest control.

Our service specialists at Quality Pest Solutions are committed to providing our clients with peace of mind knowing their homes are free of pests. We will solve your home's pest problems using cutting-edge technology and effective treatments.

Reach out today to learn about effective pest control in Omaha.

How can I prevent centipedes and millipedes in the future?

You can do a few things in and around your home to help avoid issues with centipedes and millipedes. One of the best steps you can take is to regularly vacuum your house to dislodge and remove these pests. To keep centipedes and millipedes from entering your home, inspect its exterior and seal any cracks you discover in the foundation. It is also important to reduce excess moisture in your home by quickly repairing leaky pipes, ensuring it has good ventilation, and using dehumidifiers.

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