Spring is officially here!
As we till up those garden spots and flowerbeds, we are sure to encounter different creatures, such as the centipede and the millipede.
While we all think of anything that creeps and crawls as insects, the centipede and millipede are in fact not insects but Myriapoda (meaning “myriads of legs”) a subphylum of the phylum Arthropoda, which is a broader group of invertebrates to which insects and arachnids also belong.
Here are some ways to distinguish between a centipede and a millipede
The Centipede has a flat and long body, measuring around four to five inches. Their coloring is yellowish-gray to brownish, with long antennas. Centipedes are sometimes called “hundred leggers”. Actually, the average number of legs on a centipede is closer to thirty or forty than one hundred. They have long legs that extend sideways from their bodies. Centipedes are flexible and fast moving. The centipedes you find outdoors have shorter legs than the house centipede, but are still able to move rapidly. Centipedes are carnivorous and feed on other insects. These can be great for your garden, because they can feed on insects that harm your plants.
The Millipede is cylindrical in shape. They can be from one inch to six to eight inches long. Millipedes are mostly brown in color, with short antennas. The millipede is sometimes nicknamed “thousand leggers”. Their legs are shorter and don’t extend out like the centipedes legs do.
Millipedes are not as flexible as the centipede and are slower moving. They move forward by moving their legs in a graceful wavelike pattern. Millipedes feed on decaying matter like leaves, mulch and rotting wood.
The most common centipede found in our area of central Kansas is the tropical centipede. If you are unsure what one looks like, you can click into our pest library at www.worldpestonline.com to view a picture of the tropical centipede.
Millipedes are sometimes mistaken as wireworms because of their shape.
Most of the time the reason centipedes and millipedes invade our homes is because of a change in their normal environment. Excessive rainfall or flooding of the places they shelter and feed can cause them to move indoors. Also in the fall they began looking for a place to overwinter.
Making sure that doors are properly sealed and caulking any cracks in your foundation may help to control an invasion. Trim plants and overgrown vegetation from around your foundation and allow the soil near foundations to dry. Inside, remove any unnecessary boxes or other clutter to decrease hiding places.
If you seem to be getting an unusually large number of centipedes or millipedes this spring, give our offices a call at 1-800-966-9599 and we can work with you to set up a spring and fall program to keep these unwanted creatures out of your home.
Log on and visit our Pest Library and Knowledge Center to learn more about Kansas related pests. Download our world pest app to your phone to be able to identify or to send us a picture of a bug you may need identified.