Millipedes and centipedes can be termed as similar pests. They might not be a major threat to animals or humans, but they tend to be unusually repulsive. Those found on the south tend to be larger in size and they can be up to six inches long.
The major difference between the two is that centipedes have fewer legs compared to those of a millipede hence they are easy to distinguish. In essence, millipedes have two sets of legs for every segment of their body and they move like a flowing wavy motion. The legs of a millipede also tend to be shorter than those of a centipede and they generally cannot move as fast. Because of the fewer legs on centipedes, they have an easy time moving fast.
Even though both the millipedes and centipedes hatch eggs generally, some of the varieties are born alive and centipedes can live for up to six years which is considerably longer for such worms. The centipedes can bite and tend to be poisonous. They have fangs that are strategically located behind the head and they use them to kill insects for food. When they bite humans, it feels more like a bee sting and it can get dangerous when an allergic reaction occurs in response to the centipede bite. It is important to remember that children are more sensitive to such bites and the necessary care should be given when they occur.
Millipedes unlike centipedes are not poisonous at all and they have no fangs. However, they have the ability to emit a fluid that is obnoxious as a defense mechanism. Some of the varieties can spray the fluid several inches from where they are and it can lead to skin irritation when it lands on the skin of some people. It is important to wash the fluid off as fast as possible; some scrubbing might actually be necessary to get the odor off the skin.
The millipedes can feed on both living plant roots and decaying plant matter, but they have a liking for the decaying matter over the live plant roots. When they attach the living plants, they cause damage to the roots, especially if there is a large number of them in the soil. Some millipede varieties are known to be bothersome to plants in greenhouses. Such damaging infestations might require the attention of a pest control agency to keep losses at bay for the farmer.
There is the house centipede that is an indoor variety. This variety is swift in movement and it does not need any moisture to survive like most of the varieties do.
Centipedes can actually be beneficial in controlling other pest insects because they feed on them. This could be a good reason to have them present on a property as long as they do not pose any dangers. They tend to be more common in homes during fall and spring months.
You can enjoy pest control services in case you feel the millipedes are too damaging to your plants.