Is This A Centipede or A Millipede In My Maryland Home?


Centipedes and millipedes are similar invading pests. Not only are they similar in appearance, but they both belong to the Myriapoda family. Both centipedes and millipedes infiltrate homes due to moist conditions, a leak, or drainage issues. Nevertheless, there are marked differences between the two pests. Most notably, centipedes are venomous. Though their venom poses no serious health risks, a centipede bite can cause severe pain. Therefore, you should differentiate the two before handling either.

centipede on gravel

Characteristics Shared By Centipedes And Millipedes

Centipedes and millipedes are often confused with each other. Some characteristics they share include:

  • They are both common pests all over the world.
  • Both belong to the Myriapoda family. 
  • Both fall under the term anthropoid. 
  • Both breathe through tiny holes on the sides of their bodies. 
  • Both are attracted to moist environments. 
  • Both millipedes and centipedes have similar external skeletons and similar jointed legs.
  • Both possess a multitude of legs.

Differences Between Centipedes And Millipedes 

Though centipedes and millipedes share many traits, there are some important differences, including:

  • Millipedes can cause a mild rash, while centipedes are venomous but present no severe health risks. 
  • Millipedes typically have more legs than centipedes.
  • Millipedes eat vegetation, whereas centipedes prefer insects and worms.

Why Do Centipedes Invade Your Maryland Home?

Outside, centipedes are attracted to moist areas such as a decaying log. In your home, they may be located in crawl spaces or basements, dimly lit areas, underneath sinks, and other potentially moist areas. If your basement or cellar contains wetness, perhaps due to a leak, centipedes will be drawn to it. You may find them writhing beneath your firewood. If you have an abundance of small insects in your house, their presence could attract centipedes. Additionally, they’ve been known to spend much of their time in bathrooms. 

Why Do Millipedes Invade Your Maryland Home?

Weather conditions could move millipedes indoors. Once indoors, like centipedes, they tend to gravitate toward moist areas. A neglected basement or cellar often suffices. Sometimes a bathroom can provide adequate sanctuary. They could even hide inside the laundry room, lurking behind the dishwasher. However, these conditions only offer transient shelter for millipedes, and eventually, they’ll die due to the drier living conditions. 

Harm Associated With Millipedes

Millipede toxins can create blisters and rashes. If you believe you’ve come into contact with millipede toxins, avoid rubbing your eyes. This could cause conjunctivitis. Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent an allergic reaction. Benadryl may help to mitigate skin irritation.

Harm Associated With Centipedes

Centipede venom usually poses no serious health risks. That being said, the venom can cause moderate to severe pain depending on the size of the centipede, from something akin to a bee sting to radiating pain. Severe allergic reactions can follow a centipede bite. Chills, fever, and swelling are clear indicators of a severe allergic reaction. If you experience any of these symptoms from a centipede bite, seek immediate medical attention.

How To Prevent A Centipede And Millipede Problem With Capitol Pest

Centipede and millipede prevention falls along similar lines. To prevent centipede and millipede infestations, create an inhospitable environment for the pests. Firstly, remove potential outdoor shelter. This includes firewood and stones. Next, take away all the moisture. Drain your home of any potential hiding spots. This can mean purchasing a dehumidifier or checking your pipes for any leaks. Seal any potential entry points with steel wool. 

Both centipedes and millipedes may be, for the most part, harmless, but you should promptly eliminate either pest for the betterment of your home and your family. Because an existing infestation is difficult to remove on your own, you’ll likely need professional assistance. If you live in Maryland, we urge you to contact Capitol Pest for more advice or assistance. Our licensed pest control technicians have the expertise and tools to eliminate centipedes, millipedes, and the pest prey they hunt. Reach out to us today to learn more about our one-time and recurring pest control options! 

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