Millipedes and centipedes are two creatures that are very similar, and both of them can be a pest. However, they are not a major threat to people or animals.
Centipedes in the south tend to be the largest. They can grow up to six inches in length, but most are considerably shorter. A centipede can be easily distinguished from a millipede because it has fewer legs; specifically, one set for every segment of its body. Millipedes have two sets of legs for every segment, and when they move their legs appear to be moving in a wave-like motion. A millipede’s legs are also shorter and, in general, a millipede cannot move very fast. A centipede, on the other hand, is able to move considerably faster.
Both centipedes and millipedes are mostly hatched from eggs, but some varieties are born live. Some centipedes may live as long as six years.
Centipedes actually have the ability to bite, and are poisonous. The poison from their fangs, which are behind their head, acts like that of a bee sting, and can bother some people more than others, especially if there is an allergic reaction to it. The poison is used to kill insects, which is their primary food. Children will be more sensitive to a centipede’s bite, and a larger centipede’s bite will be more painful.
Millipedes do not have poison, or fangs, but they can emit an obnoxious fluid to defend itself. Some varieties can squirt this fluid several inches and it will take some scrubbing to get rid of the odor. The fluid can cause irritation on the skin in some people, and it should be removed right away. Millipedes feed on decaying plant matter, and sometimes living plant roots.
Millipedes can damage plant roots when there are too many in the soil. Some varieties are known to be especially bothersome to green house plants. If this occurs, you may need to contact a pest control agency to remove your millipede infestation.
House centipedes are the only variety that can live inside a house. This variety can move rather quickly and do not require the moisture that the other varieties need. Centipedes are beneficial to the control of other insects and this may be a good reason to keep them around. The most likely time of year to see centipedes in your home is in the spring or fall.
When you need to get rid of centipedes and millipedes, especially when they are in your home, call us. We know which indoor pest control agents to use to keep you safe, and we will provide you with effective, long-term results.