Centipedes and Millipedes

Centipedes and millipedes are most often seen in yards and gardens, sometimes finding their way into houses. They are not insects, but they belong to the same group in the animal kingdom as insects and crustaceans.

While centipedes have 1 pair of legs per body segment, millipedes have 2 or 4 pairs of legs per body segment. Centipedes move more quickly than millipedes and are more prone to biting.

In the garden, centipedes are typically found in dark, damp areas under stones or mulch. House centipedes are so named because they are mainly encountered indoors. All centipedes are beneficial arthropods, feeding on insects. Millipedes live and feed on rotting leaves and other moist, decaying plant matter. They may occasionally wander into the home but do not survive due to the drier indoor conditions.

Learn more about these many-legged arthropods in our recently updated Pest Notes: Centipedes and Millipedes revised and reorganized by Karey Windbiel-Rojas of the UC Statewide IPM Program.