You may be surprised to learn that centipedes and millipedes are not actually insects. In fact, they are closer in body type to lobsters and crayfish! Of course, these creatures prefer to stay on the land.
But, the question is whether centipedes and millipedes are dangerous?
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The average millipede or centipede prefers high humidity and likes to come out at night to feed. They are not known to carry any diseases that can affect you or your pets. However, it is important to note that millipedes can feed on seedlings, very quickly damaging their stems and leaves. They can also head inside your home in large numbers where you’ll find them a nuisance.
But, before you simply start crushing them, consider the fact that the millipede, when crushed, will leave a residue which could stain your floors. You may prefer not to stand on them.
It's worth noting that millipedes are not poisonous but they do produce fluid that could irritate your skin. In fact, some millipedes will spray hydrochloric acid as a defensive mechanism. This will cause permanent discoloration of your skin and can even damage your eyesight if sprayed directly into your eyes.
You may also notice an odor on your hands after you’ve released the millipede. This is the spray that they used to defend themselves. It will stay on your hands for a long period of time unless you use soap and water to get rid of it.
If you notice a large number of millipedes in your home, it’s a good idea to get the local exterminator in to resolve the issue for you.
The millipede is generally between 1-2 inches long; in contrast, the centipede, which is often referred to as the worm with 100 legs, can be between 1-12 inches long.
Both types of creatures have segmented bodies with one pair of legs per segment. But, the centipede has jaws that contain their poison. These are located on the first segment behind their head.
They generally feed on small insects and similar creatures, capturing the prey in their jaws and then inject their venom.
The centipede can do the same to a human but the injection of venom will feel much the same as a bee sting. It will have no more affect than a regular bee sting. However, anyone allergic to bee stings or other insects does have the potential to react very badly. In this instance, you may need to seek professional help in dealing with the allergic reaction and a good pest control expert to ensure the centipedes are gone from the area.
Having said that, in the majority of cases a centipede bite will barely be noticeable.
Millipedes generally live in the soil and lay between 20 and 300 eggs. The eggs should hatch within a few weeks and can take between 2- 5 years to reach maturity. They eat decaying vegetation and leaf litter, keep this away from your home and you should have no issues with millipedes.
Centipedes prefer dark areas such as under stones or rotting bark. Again, keeping this away from your home will help to reduce the risk of issues.
In short, unless you’re someone who suffers from an allergic reaction to bee stings, centipedes and millipedes pose very little, if any, danger to you.