Millipedes?

Asked October 16, 2020, 12:01 PM EDT

Can anyone identify these, I’m looking to rent a home and I found these around the edging of the new carpet and in a closet in one of the bedrooms.

Cumberland County North Carolina

4 Responses

Hello, there are no pictures attached. Can you try to attach them?

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, the photos aren't in focus, so I can't determine if they are millipedes or centipedes. Millipedes and centipedes can be distinguished from each other by the number of pairs of legs per body segment. Millipedes will have two pair of legs per each body segment, while centipedes have only one pair of legs per segment.

Millipedes occasionally enter homes when the weather becomes hot and dry. They are looking for sources of moisture. The most common millipede found in homes is the garden millipede, scientific name Oxidus gracilis. Millipedes do not bite, sting or transmit diseases. They also don't infest food, damage clothing or upholstery or damage structurally sound lumber. They feed primarily on decaying organic material (e.g., decaying vegetation). They usually crawl much slower than centipedes, and can secrete a cyanide-like compound that has a disagreeable odor as a means of defense. They cannot survive very long in a house, unless they find moist conditions.

Here's a link to a NC State University Extension publication on controlling millipedes in an around the home:

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/controlling-millipedes-in-and-around-homes

Centipedes are generally flatter and have longer antennae than millipedes, and they have one pair of legs per body segment. The most common centipede found in homes is the house centipede, scientific name Scutigera coleoptrata. They usually prefer areas of high moisture in the home. Centipedes can bite if handled or stepped on. The house centipede bite is reported to be comparable to a bee sting. Centipedes are considered beneficial because they prey on other insects that are often classified as pests.

Here's a link to a Michigan State University publication on the house centipede:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/house-centipede/

I hope this information helps, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim