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How To Tell The Difference Between Millipedes And Centipedes

Millipedes and Centipedes

I realize that many of you have busy schedules. Life has a way of loading us down like a pack mule on a winding Himalayan trail. So, I'm going to break this article down into two sections: the short answer, and the long answer. If you have a short attention span, or suffer from ADHD, you may want to apply yourself, and stick with me till the end, because I'm going to give you tips on how you can protect yourself from these and other invasive pests.

Okay. What is the difference between millipedes and centipedes?

The short answer:

Millipedes are disgusting. Centipedes are horror movie disgusting--and they bite. Oh, and they can make even the manliest man squeal like a little girl.

The long answer:

Millipedes are long, roundish, and tend to curl up into a spiral when you tap them. Their 80-400 legs are smaller than a centipede's legs, and aim downward. Millipedes are a nuisance pest, and mostly harmless. Centipedes are flatter than millipedes, with 30-300 legs, that shoot out straight from their sides. This bug is all legs and antennae, and nasty to behold. For this reason, they are very popular with horror movie directors. Centipedes have a painful bite and a light venom that can cause skin irritation.

How are they the same?

Neither of these two bugs are insects. Insects are a class of invertebrates within the arthropod phylum, that are defined by three body parts and six legs. Millipedes and centipedes are arthropods, but these two critters are well outside those leg and body part parameters.

You can find both of these bugs in moist dark places, like flower bed soil, dank wet basements, moist soil under porches, and in drains. They are content to be anywhere moist.

How do I keep them out of my house?

  • Door sweeps are a key defense against these two bugs. Make sure all your door sweeps are in good working order, and make a proper seal. It doesn't take much of a gap for a centipede to slip under.
  • Use liquid cement to seal cracks in your basement wall. Broken concrete and rotted boards are popular entry points for centipedes and millipedes.
  • Cut back tall grass near your foundation wall, and fill in areas where water collects.
  • Make sure your gutters are clear of debris and that all downspouts direct water away from your foundation.
  • There are some cases where a limited and targeted use of pesticides is needed. Consult a professional to treat your perimeter.

Millipedes, centipedes, and a host of other invasive bugs, can be sealed out of your house with proper preventative measures. Work with a pest control company to find out where your home is vulnerable. It is easier than you think, and worth every penny.