Centipedes and Millipedes
Centipedes are flattened, elongated animals with one pair of legs on most
of their body sections. This easily distinguishes them from millipedes which have two
pair of legs per body section. The total number of legs varies from 10 to more than 100,
depending on the species.
Because of their poison glands and ability to bite, centipedes do pose an occasional threat to man. The bite of a centipede, even the largest species found in the United States, is not sufficiently toxic to be lethal man or even small children. The poison in a centipedes bite usually produces only a moderate reaction similar to that of a bee sting, but if you are bitten and have a significant reaction, do not hesitate to call your physician. Ordinarily, centipedes dwell outdoors in moist, protected localities: beneath accumulations of leaves, under stones, rotted logs, boards, leaves, bark and compost piles. When disturbed, centipedes run swiftly. Centipedes many times will crawl into homes and conceal themselves in various articles, such as shoes, diaper pails, laundry baskets, boxes and damp towels left on bathroom floors. It is not unusual for someone to tell us that they discovered the presence of centipedes while turning over in bed, only to be bitten by the wandering pest! Although they are not considered aggressive towards humans, centipedes to not like to be cornered or touched and will respond defensively in such situations.
Because the products and methods for controlling millipedes parallel those for controlling centipedes, we have combined the control sections of these two pests. Click here for centipede elimination and control.
As a household pest, millipedes are more of an annoyance or nuisance, rather than an indoor-breeding pest that causes destruction. Millipedes normally are found outdoors where they feed on damp and decaying wood, organic material, and will also feed on tender roots and green leaves that have fallen to the ground. This occasional invader has two pair of legs per body segment (as compared to the centipede, which has one pair per segment,) except for the first three segments which have one pair of legs per segment.
Millipedes are not poisonous, but many species have repugnatorial glands capable of producing mild acids which may produce allergenic reactions in sensitive individuals. There are at least 1,000 species of millipedes in the United States, a few of which are capable of squirting their unpleasant fluids over a distance of several inches. Persons handling millipedes will notice a lingering odor on their hands and the fluid can be dangerous to the eyes.
Millipede fertilization is internal, with eggs being deposited in clusters in the soil. In most species, the first larval stage have three pairs of legs. These larvae pass through a series of molts, during which the number of body segments (and legs) increase. Usually there are 7 to 10 molts, the number varying from one species to another. Many species reach sexual maturity by the second year, while others may spend four years or more in the larval stage. The molting stages discontinue when sexual maturity is reached.
Generally, millipedes over winter in the soil near the foundations of homes, green houses or other structures. Homes are invaded (sometimes in huge numbers) either after heavy rainfall (spring through fall) or when searching for a site to over winter. For some unknown reason, millipedes at times become restless and leave the soil to crawl into houses. This is most common with homes that have ground-level patio doors, basements or other areas that are easily accessible.
Because the products and methods for controlling millipedes parallel those for controlling centipedes, we have combined the control sections of these two pests.
This section includes not only centipedes and millipedes, but all similar multi-legged pests such as sowbugs, pillbugs and rolly polys. This group of animals are not insects and the old standard insecticides such as Diazinon, Dursban, Malathion and Sevin have little effect on them. The best products on the market for control of these pests are Suspend SC and Talstar Concentrate. These are both odorless pesticides and have an excellent knockdown on millipedes, centipedes and their cousins. Talstar Concentrate is our favorite because it is odorless and is the best product on the market for control of other pests such as spiders, scorpions and large roaches. Another helpful tool for cracks, crevices and other areas that are inaccessible to sprays is Delta Dust, an odorless, water-proof insecticide dust that gives long term control over a wide variety of pests.
First, spray the material into crevices around doors, windows, chimneys, plumbing, vents, weep holes or any small opening in the exterior of your home that might possibly serve as an entry point for any pests.
Second, fan spray a band two or three feet high on the side of the structure, down to the soil, and continue outwards from five to fifteen feet out. This will give you a secure band of product around your home (or business) for immediate knockdown of existing pests and long-term control for future infestations. Pay special attention to areas where pests might live, breed, feed, hide or over winter: retaining walls constructed of hollow blocks, landscape timbers, stones, compost piles, leaves, pine straw or other areas mentioned in the biology section on your pest).
Third, apply Delta Dust to all possible entry points, hiding places, cracks and crevices. This treatment will place product in areas where any type of household pest can enter or hide in your home -- especially areas where sprays cannot reach. Use a Crusader Duster to neatly and precisely apply your insecticide dust.