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Occasional Unwanted Pests: Centipedes and Millipedes

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Centipede and millipede infestations frequently occur in high-moisture environments that provide abundant food sources year around. Restaurants are especially susceptible to being overrun with these "hundred leggers", in addition to hotels with kitchens, food facilities, hospitals and schools.

Do Centipedes Carry Disease?

Centipedes are nuisance pests that do not carry immediate property or health threats but they do have slightly poisonous bites that will cause pain, swelling and itchiness similar to the irritation of a bee sting. Centipedes prefer to scurry around at night and hide during the day in bathrooms, basements, kitchens and crawlspaces. If you decorate your business with large potted plants, you will likely find centipedes crawling in them if you have an infestation.

What About Millipedes?

Millipedes are also nocturnal and seek decaying organic matter for sustenance. During fall months, millipedes migrate in remarkably large numbers and can infest a building within days of discovering how accommodating it is to their needs, i.e., having a never ending food supply, high humidity/moisture and plenty of hiding spaces. Like centipedes, millipedes do not present an imminent health concern but some species emit a foul-smelling liquid through body openings that can produce blistering on humans and toxic reactions in pets.

What's the Difference Between Centipedes and Millipedes? They Look and Act the Same!

  • Comparing the two under a magnifying glass, you can see that centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment; millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment.
  • Centipedes are long and flat; millipedes are tube-shaped and slender, looking more like an earthworm.
  • Millipedes can be up to four inches in length but the common building centipede typically grows no longer than one to two inches long.

You might be tempted to spray an insecticide around your building to prevent these many-legged arthropods (they aren't technically insects) from entering but sunlight and the elements will degrade the solution quickly and you'll have to keep reapplying the insecticide--and reapplying--and reapplying...

If you are the facility manager of a commercial building, hospital or school and start noticing these creatures crawling in or near your building, call Assured Environments today for professional pest management services. Not only will we eradicate your millipede or centipede infestation but we'll also show you how to tell the difference between these two nuisance and sometimes toxic arthropods!

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