Pest Library Centipede

Centipedes and Millipedes

Protect Your Business From Centipedes and Millipedes.

Centipedes & Millipedes Found In Washington State

Belonging to the subphylum of arthropods called Myriapoda (In Greek, Myriapoda translates to “countless legs”), centipedes and millipedes are elongated, segmented invertebrates that feature a plethora of legs and a diverse range of subspecies. As there are nearly 88,000 known types of centipedes and millipedes combined worldwide, these bugs have been found on every continent except Antarctica.

While both of these invertebrates can be beneficial for your landscape—as millipedes break down rotting material and centipedes prey on other garden pests—an overabundance of them surrounding your home can be unsettling. It’s important to learn about the similarities and differences between centipedes and millipedes to give you a better understanding of why you’re seeing them around your home or business.

What Do Centipedes and Millipedes Look Like?


Centipedes and millipedes come in a variety of sizes relative to one another. Ranging from 2/5 of an inch to 12 inches, these bugs can grow to the size of a standard ruler with up to 750 legs! 

Leg Position

Visually, centipedes and millipedes have differentiating leg characteristics that can be easily identified when you’re up close. 


Centipede DetailsCentipedes, belonging to the class chilopoda (meaning “lip foot”), have legs that spread away from the body.

These invertebrates have modified legs on their first body section that closely resemble mouth parts, featuring venomous claws called forcipules.


Millepede DetailMillipedes, belonging to the class diplopoda (meaning “double foot”), feature legs that point straight to the ground.

This invertebrate has two pairs of legs per each segment of their body, as opposed to the one pair of legs per segment that centipedes have.

Where Can I Find Centipedes and Millipedes?

With thin outer coverings, both centipedes and millipedes tend to stay out of harm’s way in dark, moist landscapes, including underneath:

  • Mulch
  • Logs
  • Stones
  • Compost piles

How Do Centipedes and Millipedes Behave?

While centipedes and millipedes can appear strikingly similar, their behavior will likely dictate which class they belong to. If you find one of these arthropods in the wild, their first reaction to your presence will indicate which multi-legged bug you’re dealing with. If this critter scurries away immediately, it’s a centipede. If it curls up and stays motionless, it’s a millipede. 

These behaviors are also indicative of their lifestyles, as centipedes are predators with heightened defense mechanisms and millipedes are omnivores that are mostly interested in decaying plant matter.    

Call Mathis Today for Centipede and Millipede Control in Puget Sound

Since 1992, Mathis Exterminating has provided expert pest control to residents and businesses all across Puget Sound. Utilizing environmentally-friendly, green products, our licensed pest technicians will ensure your centipede and millipede infestation is taken care of. Creating advanced pest barriers around the perimeter of your home to ward off these invertebrates, you can rest easy knowing these bugs won’t be around for long. If you’re experiencing centipedes or millipedes around your home or business, give us a call today at 1-800-728-BUGS or fill out our handy contact form for advanced pest control in western Washington state!

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