Related Categories

Safety Products

Please be sure to read the product label of any insecticide you choose to use to get information on the personal protective safety gear you will need. In most situations, it is recommended that you wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, closed toe shoes with socks, chemical resistant gloves, and goggles. In areas where ventilation is poor, a manufacturer may recommend you wear a mask or a respirator. We have put together two different safety kits that will make selecting the correct safety gear easier for you.

Millipede Identification Guide

What Do Millipedes Look Like?

By DoMyOwn staff
Image of a Millipede

Millipedes are segmented insects that are often confused with centipedes. While they won't bite or sting, large amounts of millipedes can be a nuisance, especially if they get inside your home or building.

Read our guide below to identify what millipedes look like.

Millipedes vs. Centipedes

Graphic showing the differences between a millipede and a centipede

Millipedes and centipedes are often confused for one another. A few differences between the two:

  • Millipedes have 2 pairs of legs per body segment while centipedes have 1 pair of legs per each body segment
  • Millipedes move slowly, while centipedes move quickly
  • Millipedes mostly eat decaying organic matter. Centipedes are carnivorous, injecting their prey with venom to kill before eating.
  • Millipedes do not bite. Instead, when scared, they will secrete a sticky substance that can cause an allergic reaction to humans upon contact. While rare, a centipede may bite humans. These bites are not typically life threatening.
  • Millipedes curl into a tight ball or coil as a defense mechanism. Centipedes do not.
Image of a millipede in its environment

Most millipedes found in North America will be 1-2 inches long. They grow longer as they age. Some millipedes can grow up to 14 inches long.

Graphic showing millipede anatomy

Millipedes have long, worm-like bodies divided into many body segments. These segments help the millipedes move in their signature wave-like pattern.

Millipedes have 2-4 pairs of legs per body segment. The legs are barely visible if looking at the millipede from above.

In comparison, centipedes only have 1 pair of legs per body segment, and their legs are longer.

Image showing the color of a millipede

Millipedes are typically brown or black. Brown millipedes may appear to be a reddish-brown or rust color.

Map showing the range of the millipede in the United States

Millipedes can be found across the United States.

Have millipedes? Learn where millipedes are found around the home in the next part of our 4-part guide. Click the right arrow below to read more.

104 of 111 people found this article informative and helpful.

Was this article informative and helpful to you?   Yes |  No