What is the Difference Between Millipedes and Centipedes?  

08 April 2024 · 3 min read


Millipedes and centipedes exhibit a remarkable visual resemblance, characterized by segmented bodies and numerous legs, often leading to confusion among observers, particularly in dimly lit environments or when encountered under leaf piles. 

In situations where millipedes and centipedes coexist or are encountered separately, careful examination becomes crucial. Observers must pay close attention to specific traits such as leg arrangement, body shape, and behavioral cues to accurately distinguish between these arthropods. By recognizing these subtle differences, individuals can effectively manage encounters or infestations and better understand the diverse roles these creatures play within their ecosystems. 


Understanding detailed differences in body structure, leg arrangement, behavior, dietary preferences, and habitat preferences is essential for accurately identifying and distinguishing between centipedes and millipedes in various ecological settings. 

Body Structure

  • Centipedes tend to have long, flattened bodies with a distinct head and numerous body segments. Their bodies are smoother, aiding in their fast movements. 
  • Millipedes have cylindrical bodies with segmented structures. Their bodies are round, giving them a distinct appearance compared to centipedes. 

Leg Arrangement

  • Centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment, except for the first segment, which usually lacks legs. 
  • Millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment, except for certain segments in the front and back of their bodies, resulting in a more evenly spaced distribution of legs along their body. 

Movement and Behavior

  • Centipedes are fast predators equipped with venomous claws called forcipules, which they use to subdue prey. They actively hunt insects, spiders, and other small pests, displaying fast movements and predatory behavior. 
  • Millipedes tend to move more slowly and are primarily herbivores, feeding on decaying plant matter and organic debris. When threatened, millipedes curl into a spiral shape or release a defensive substance to deter predators. 

Dietary Preferences

  • Centipedes are carnivores, preying on a variety of small insects that lack vertebrates including silverfish, flies, moths, spiders, and more. 
  • Millipedes are herbivores, feeding primarily on decaying plant matter and organic debris. They play a crucial role in breaking down dead plant material and contributing to the health of the soil. 

Habitat and Distribution

  • Both insects can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and urban areas. However, centipedes are more commonly associated with drier environments, while millipedes prefer moist habitats such as forests and gardens. 

How Do You Get Rid of Centipedes and Millipedes?  

Controlling an invasion of millipedes and centipedes can prove to be quite a challenge for homeowners who find themselves overwhelmed by these unwanted guests. At Greenhouse Termite and Pest Control, we understand the frustration and inconvenience that comes with such infestation. That’s why we’re here to offer innovative solutions designed specifically to address millipedes and centipedes’ concerns with precision and effectiveness.  

Our approach is tailored to fight these pests head-on, utilizing advanced techniques to create a protective barrier around your home. With our perimeter spray treatment, we target the base of your house and extend upwards by three feet, effectively blocking millipedes and centipedes from entering. This strategic application not only tackles existing infestations but also acts as a deterrent against future invasions.  

For those with mulch beds, we leave no stone untouched. Our comprehensive treatment saturates these areas, eliminating any potential hiding spots for millipedes and centipedes. Furthermore, we use insecticides that penetrate deep into the soil, providing long-lasting protection against these persistent pests.  

At Greenhouse Termite and Pest Control, customer satisfaction is our top priority. That’s why we offer complimentary quotes and personalized solutions tailored to your specific needs. Rest assured, with our expertise and dedication, we’ll rid your home of these bothersome pests, restoring peace of mind and leaving your home pest-free once more. Trust Greenhouse Termite and Pest Control to deliver results you can rely on, call us today to claim your free quote.  

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