The first 3 body segments of the millipede has one pair of legs each, the rest have two pairs each (47-375 leg pairs and 25-189 body segments, not counting head and tail). Centipedes have only one pair of legs per segment. Millipedes gain more segments and legs as they molt and grow; some can live up to 7 years.

Millipedes like moist habitats under rocks, rotting logs, and leaf debris. Most eat decaying plant material, but a few species occasionally can be carnivorous. Some may also occasionally eat living plants.

To discourage predators, millipedes coil into a protective spiral, or roll into a defensive ball; many emit poisonous or foul-smelling substances. Many bright-colored/patterned millipedes secrete a compound containing cyanide.

“Millipedes lack the structures to bite, pinch, or sting, and are harmless to humans, although the defensive secretions burn if they get into the eyes. Millipedes are entirely non-toxic to humans and can be picked up by hand. Some secretions discolor the skin, but this wears away in a few days without lasting effect. Some large, cylindrical, tropical species squirt their defensive secretions up to a half meter and can blind chickens and dogs. Their fluids are painful if they get into the eyes, and persons working with tropical millipedes should be suitably cautious.” [Rowland Shelley]

If you’re concerned about millipedes around your home or place of business, give Dave’s Pest Control a call at 1-800-400-6009.