A Guide To Centipede & Millipede Identification

What are centipedes and millipedes?

Centipedes and millipedes both have segmented bodies and many pairs of legs. Both species are types of occasional invaders and are commonly found pests in the Norfolk area. This means that centipedes and millipedes spend most of their lives outside but sometimes move indoors, usually when the weather outside makes it too hard for them to live successfully.

a centipede crawling outside in duck north carolina

Centipede means "hundred-leggers", but their number of legs usually ranges anywhere between 15 and 177 pairs, depending on their size. House centipedes have flat, long, segmented bodies that are yellowish-gray to dark brown in color. They may also have dark stripes or other markings on their bodies. The first pairs of their limbs are referred to as maxillipeds. Maxillipeds end in sharp claws and contain venom glands that centipedes use to catch and paralyze their prey. Centipedes also have long, sensitive antennae.

The name millipede means thousand legs, but typically millipedes only grow large enough to have between 30 and 90 legs. Millipedes have worm-like bodies and are usually black or brown in color. Some species may have red or orange mottled patterns on their bodies.

Are centipedes and millipedes dangerous?

Neither centipedes nor millipedes are considered dangerous pests. Both have some unique "quirks" that you should be aware of, and they can invade homes in large numbers.

  • Millipedes have the ability to spray a toxic, foul-smelling fluid as a means of defense. If you get this fluid on your skin it is important to immediately wash it off to prevent a skin reaction from occurring.

  • While rare, centipedes do have the potential to deliver painful bites through the skin of a person. The venom injected at the bite site is not strong enough to cause serious health problems in people.

Why do I have a centipede and millipede problem?

The areas that centipedes and millipedes nest outside in are often located next to the foundations of homes. It is common for these pests to accidentally find their way inside through cracks found in the foundation and exterior doors, especially basement doors. Centipedes and millipedes also purposely make their way inside if the weather outside becomes too hot or dry for them to live comfortably.

Where will I find centipedes and millipedes?

Both centipedes and millipedes live outside in dark, quiet, moist areas. Common outdoor nesting spots include underneath mulch, stones, landscaping ties, logs, piles of leaves and grass, and under trash cans or compost bins. Once inside, they take up residence in places that mimic their outdoor environments, such as basements, crawlspaces, bathrooms, and areas underneath sinks.

How do I get rid of centipedes and millipedes?

To eliminate centipedes and millipedes from your residential or commercial property, professional pest control is highly recommended. When you partner with the experts at Four Seasons | HomeTown Pest Control, our experienced and friendly professionals will provide the tailored, comprehensive services needed to eliminate your property’s initial infestation. We then have the ability to provide ongoing preventative treatments to stop centipedes, millipedes, and other household pests from returning.

To learn more about ridding your Outer Banks, NC or Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, or Norfolk, VA property of these pests, contact Four Seasons | HomeTown!

How can I prevent centipedes and millipedes in the future?

To help you stop centipedes and millipedes from taking over your North Carolina or Virginia home or commercial property, we offer the following prevention tips:

  • Place dehumidifiers in basement areas and make sure that crawlspaces are properly ventilated.

  • Repair cracks, crevices, and gaps found in the foundation of your home.

  • Install door sweeps on all exterior doors, especially basement doors.

  • Leave a barrier between your home and any mulch, soil, or grass.

  • Remove piles of leaves, grass, sticks, and other organic debris from your property.

  • Place garbage cans, compost bins, and woodpiles up off the ground and away from the outside of your home.

  • Put into place a professional pest control service from Four Seasons | HomeTown Pest Control.


Request Your Free Inspection

Complete the form below to schedule your no obligation inspection.

HomeTown Pest Control (757) 210-3462

Four Seasons Pest Control (252) 486-8364

In need of pest control? Reach out to Four Seasons | HomeTown Pest Control!

Contact Us

where we service map of north carolina featuring grandy and kill devil hills