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Critters that crawl or wiggle often startle people, whether they are dangerous or not.  From beetles to spiders to worms to millipedes and centipedes, these creepy crawlies are the last things we want to see in our home. So what about centipedes and millipedes? Are they poisonous? Are they harmful? Why do I have them in my home? These are all questions we ask ourselves if we spot one in our bathroom, basement, or elsewhere.

What is the Difference Between Centipedes and Millipedes?

The millipede and centipede are both classified as arthropods with many legs, but that is where the similarity ends.  The centipede is a carnivore, they eat other bugs, their legs are long and very visible as they scurry about, they have 2 legs per body segment, and they have antennae. Their many legs allow them to move very quickly to overtake their prey. The centipede is capable of biting and in fact they are adapted to attack and kill prey.  Centipedes have maxillipeds which are modified, venomous legs which are used to envenomate their prey and then they devour them as food. A centipede bite is not generally fatal, but it can produce inflamed painful areas much like a wasp sting. Centipedes are usually red to light brown in color and like millipedes may be found in areas around water or moist areas.

Millipedes are more worm-like and their legs are more underneath their bodies than centipedes and shorter. A millipede is mottled grey, light grey or nearly white in color and generally a millipede has two pairs of legs per segment except for their first three segments. A millipede’s antennae are much shorter than a centipede.  Millipedes feed off dead plant materials, and they are often found in moist areas as well. Millipedes do not bite; their preferred defense is to secrete a foul-smelling fluid that has been known to cause irritation to skin and eyes.  Some species actually can produce an acidic fluid that can burn skin if they are threatened.

How to Deter Centipedes and Millipedes from Entering Your Home

These arthropods can have a very unsettling affect on people when they are spotted in their home, and although they are not considered harmful or dangerous, between the painful bites and foul smells, most people just want these creatures gone.  There are some things you can do to discourage them from getting in your home.

These creepy crawlies need moisture to survive, so correct any water problems in or around your home to eliminate moisture. Remove any moisture-holding ground cover and any organic material that is close to your home. Store firewood away from the house and inspect wood before bringing any in the house to ensure the wood is bug free before bringing indoors. Any doors or windows close to the ground should be properly sealed to prevent critters from coming into your home.

If you find any of these critters in your home or need a free inspection to discover potential pests, call All-Natural pest Elimination for help.