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What's The Difference Between West Chester's Centipedes And Millipedes?

How To Tell Centipedes And Millipedes Apart

There are many pests that can get into your West Chester home. The vast majority of them have six legs. A select few have four legs. But only two have a bunch of legs. As you can probably guess, those two pests are centipedes and millipedes.

This is just about the only thing these two bugs have in common. Even in this one commonality, there are many differences.

millipede in basement


You can easily tell these two bugs apart by looking at their legs. Look for the following visual characteristics:

  • A millipede has short legs.

  • A centipede has long legs.

  • The legs of a millipede are on the bottom.

  • The legs of a centipede are on the sides and rise up into a joint before going back down to the ground. 

    A millipede can have between 30 and 90 pairs of legs.

  • A house centipede typically has 15 pairs of legs.


The size of these two bugs can vary depending on the species and age. If you find an adult millipede or centipede in your home, this is what you can expect.

  • A millipede will be between 1/16 and 4 ½ inches long.

  • A centipede will be between ⅛ and 6 inches long. Fortunately, we don't have any of those large centipedes in our area. The largest a house centipede will get is about 2 inches.


The world is filled with millipede and centipede species. If you search for images of these two bugs, it can be confusing. Here's what you can expect in our area.

  • A millipede can be black or brown, and in some cases red, orange or a mottled pattern. Most often, they will be blackish.

  • House centipedes, which are what we see in West Chester homes, are a yellowish color with dark banding on the legs.


These two couldn't be more different in terms of their diet. This won't help you tell them apart, but it will give you some insight into how long they can stay in your home. Millipedes will not find an ideal environment in a man-made structure because they live on decaying plants and animals. Centipedes, on the other hand, can do quite well in your home if you have bugs in your walls.

  • Millipedes are detritivores. That is a fancy word for an animal that eats things that are in a state of decay. Their preferred food source is decaying plant matter, such as decomposing leaves and plants, but they will also eat decaying animals. If they're able, they'll be happy to climb into your trash and feed on your decaying leftovers as well.

  • Centipedes are carnivorous. The primary food source of a centipede is soft-bodied insects and arachnids. When centipedes get in your home, they will help with the control of spiders, silverfish, cockroaches, and even bed bugs. But don't count on them to give you complete protection. They lack the dedication of a licensed "human" pest control professional.

Centipede And Millipede Dangers

You don't have too much to worry about with these two bugs. They are only a nuisance when they get into your West Chester home. Millipedes don't bite or spread disease. Centipedes are able to bite, but they are strongly averse to biting humans.

How To Keep Centipedes And Millipedes Out

There are many things you can do to deter these two pests from getting into your home. These involve removing attractants, sealing entry points, and reducing humidity.

  • Rake the leaves away from your home's exterior.

  • Remove woodpiles, brush piles, and other organic material.

  • Reduce weeds and unnecessary vegetation from your landscaping.

  • Clean your gutters and make sure rainwater is being properly channeled.

  • Keep your foundation perimeter as dry as possible.

  • Seal gaps, cracks, and holes in your exterior.

  • Reduce humidity inside your home by installing dehumidifiers and fans as necessary.

  • Use the fan in your bathroom when you take a shower or bath.

Pest Control For Centipedes And Millipedes

The best way to control millipedes, centipedes, and all of the other pests that can get into your West Chester home is by investing in an effective residential pest control program for your home. If you'd like assistance with this, reach out to Moyer Pest Control. We provide advanced pest control solutions and friendly, effective pest control services in West Chester.

Contact Moyer Pest Control

Our team is ready to solve your pest problem. Fill out the from below or call (215) 660-3642.