1-800-441-1519

Professional Control for
Centipedes, Millipedes, & Sowbugs

Get Help Now!
creature control can help with

Managing Arthropods and Other Many-Legged Pests

Centipedes, millipedes, and sowbugs are all arthropods with segmented bodies and jointed legs, and they tend to show up when you least expect them. As cool as these creatures are, millipedes and centipedes are some of our oldest known land animals, dating back to the Silurian period; still they are sometimes under-appreciated when found indoors. In Michigan, it is not uncommon to experience an influx of these pests in a basement shortly after a rainstorm. In the late summer or early fall, centipedes, millipedes, and sowbugs can leave the soil outdoors and crawl into homes, occasionally in very large numbers, in search of protected places to overwinter.

SEND US A MESSAGE to eliminate your pest problems

Give us details of your issue and we'll get back to you promptly.

CALL US TODAY 1-800-441-1519

Our experts are ready to help solve your bug problem.

Myriapoda

Centipedes and millipedes are not insects but are classified as Myriapoda (literally "myriads of legs"), a type of arthropod, from a broader group of invertebrates in which insects and arachnids also belong. Myriapods share many things in common; having a single pair of antennae and simple eyes and a mouth on the underside of the head. They all prefer to live in moist areas and feed on decomposing organic material, though centipedes are also predatory and will consume other pests such as roaches, moths, and termites. Although "myria" means 10,000, myriapods have multiple pairs of legs, ranging from as few as ten up to 750 pairs.

Centipedes

Centipedes ("hundred-foot") are the most common Myriapod humans are likely to encounter in Michigan. The household centipede has a flattened body with 15 pairs of long, jointed legs attached along the sides. They have a couple of elongated, slender antennae that extend forward from the head. Each body segment has one pair of legs. It is the legs of the household centipede that make it most identifiable, for they are quite long and protrude from the sides of the body (as opposed to millipedes and sowbugs, whose legs are short, not jointed, and are underneath the body). The color of the centipede's body is very light, usually brown or grayish-yellow, and may even appear translucent at times. They may also be marked with three dark stripes visible from above.

Millipedes

Millipedes ("thousand-foot") are usually dark brown or black and have the appearance of a worm, generally about an inch to an inch and a half in length. Their body is more cylindrical, unlike centipedes, which have flattened bodies. Millipedes have many more legs than the centipede, sometimes up to 400 (although the world's largest was discovered in Northern California in 2012 having 750 pairs of legs.) Despite its abundance of legs, the millipede moves much more slowly than the centipede. Millipedes prefer to live underneath objects in damp locations where they can feed on decaying organic material. When touched, they will often curl up tightly to protect their breathing holes located at each segment, near the base of the legs.

Sowbugs

The sowbug, also known as a woodlouse (and often confused with a pillbug or a roly-poly), is usually lumped in with centipedes and millipedes. Sowbugs are not a Myriapod or a bug, but they are a type of land-dwelling crustacean related to lobsters, crayfish, and crabs. The sowbug is brownish-gray in color and usually reaches about 3/4 of an inch. It has an oval-shaped body with a series of overlapping plates on its back, resembling a small armadillo or turtle. Although very similar looking to a pillbug, sowbugs cannot roll up, even when they are threatened. Sowbugs also have two appendages; to the naked eye, it appears as two tails, where pillbugs do not. A sowbug typically has fourteen legs. Like centipedes and millipedes, sowbugs prefer moist environments and they feed on decaying organic matter.

Centipedes Removal with Creature Control Millipedes Removal with Creature Control Sowbugs Removal with Creature Control

Household Invaders

It is common for centipedes, millipedes, and sowbugs to move inside your home during the spring and summer, and sometimes during the winter. These pests can take up temporary residence indoors due to excessive rainfall (their home was flooded) or, sometimes, they need to find a safe place to overwinter. Centipedes, millipedes, and sowbugs enter the home through cracks in the foundation, under doors, and through window wells. They are usually found in basements, although they may also be found in ground-level rooms. Neither the millipede nor the sowbug is dangerous, although their presence in the home may be signs of a dampness problem. Centipedes may bite, though this is extremely rare since they typically try to avoid contact with humans. Their bites can be painful and lead to swelling, but they are generally no more dangerous or uncomfortable than a bee sting. Persons allergic to bee stings should also be wary of centipede bites.

Managing your Pest Problem

In many cases, it is not necessary to take any active steps for the management of these pests. Some will inevitably get into your home throughout the year, and as they do not “nest” or reproduce in the house, you may be able to tolerate them until they go away, or else vacuum them up. However, in certain situations, they may come into the house in such numbers as to warrant action. Creature Control provides a variety of pest management services that can deter the activity of centipedes, millipedes, and sowbugs. Perimeter treatments around the home’s foundation are beneficial in keeping centipedes, millipedes, and sowbugs from getting into the house to begin with. These applications are most effectively applied in the late summer and early fall. Spot treatments of potential centipede harborage areas indoors are also recommended, such as behind baseboards, in cracks and crevices, and along the walls in basements. Glue-traps are also useful for catching centipedes.

Environmental modifications can go a long way towards keeping pests out of the home. The following steps are recommended for prevention of centipedes, millipedes, and sowbugs in Michigan homes:

  • Caulk or seal cracks and other openings in exterior foundation walls and around doors and ground-level windows by late summer.
  • Remove leaf litter and decaying vegetation from around the foundation, which provides food and shelter for sowbugs and millipedes.
  • A border of bare soil around the building next to the foundation also helps to make the area a less favorable habitat.
  • Trim and thin foundation planting so that ventilation permits the soil to dry more quickly near the foundation.
  • Allow the soil near the house to dry between waterings. Roughening the soil surface will speed drying and will work plant materials into the ground where it is unavailable to sowbugs or millipedes.
  • Remove unnecessary boxes, bags, and other clutter that gives centipedes desirable places to hide.
  • Caulk or seal behind baseboards and in cracks and crevices where centipedes like to hide.
  • Place a dehumidifier in damp areas to sufficiently dry the air. Structural repairs may be necessary to the home and yard if a dehumidifier does not keep a room sufficiently dry.

If you have repeated issues with centipedes getting into your house, there is probably a high density of available insect prey in the home as well, such as ants and spiders. Getting rid of spiders or ants in the home will remove the food source for the centipedes and make your house a lot less attractive to them. Contact Creature Control for a consultation or to schedule an appointment for effective control of all insects and bugs, including centipedes, millipedes, and sowbugs.

What's
That Noise?
What do these animals sound like?
What's That Noise? What's that noise?
in the    during the
GET HELP NOW RESET
What Does it Sound Like?
Where is it Coming From?
RESET
When is it Happening?
RESET

Scratching during the day may indicate the presence of a bat, but this is uncommon.

More common sources of scratching or clawing during the day is a squirrel or a yellowjacket hive in the drywall, if it is summer.

A scratching sound coming from the attic is a good indication of the presence of a bat. The scratching may be constant or intermittent and may occur at day or night, though with a bat, this scratching will usually be heard at night. This is the sounds of the claws on the bat's wings as it moves around.

It may also indicate the presence of mice, however. An inspection is necessary to more directly pinpoint the source of the sound.

Gnawing sounds during the day are almost always due to the presence of a rodent, such a mouse, squirrel, chipmunk, or sometimes a rat. Rodents are characterized by their large incisor teeth, which continually grow and must be worn down by constant gnawing. Rodents will gnaw on wires, insulation and anything else they can find in an attic. Many house fires due to electrical problems are caused by damaged wires due to squirrel gnawing.

If you are hearing gnawing or chewing sounds at night, it may indicate the presence of a raccoon. Usually this will be accompanied by other noises, such as heavy walking. If you do not hear this, it may be a flying squirrel or some other rodent.

A "rolling" sound is usually due to the presence of a red squirrel bringing in nuts or other debris and rolling it around up in the attic, as squirrels will use attics to hoard food. If you hear this sound during the day, it is certainly a red squirrel, since red squirrels are the only mammals that commonly get into attics that are active during the day (flying squirrels get into attics as well but they are nocturnal). The "rolling" sound associated with a squirrel is sometimes described as the sound of marbles rolling.

If it is not a squirrel, there's a possibility a rolling sound could be made by birds moving around in a tight space.

Rolling sounds at night can be caused by flying squirrels, which are nocturnal. It is made by the squirrel bringing nuts or other debris into the attic or wall.

Raccoons may also make a rolling sound, though this is less common.

Scampering or scurrying during the day is almost always attributable to a squirrel, as most other scurrying animals (such as mice) are nocturnal.

A scurrying or scampering sound at night is usually due to mice moving through the walls, ceiling, or along the floor.

Nocturnal flying squirrels may make this noise as well; peak periods of activity for flying squirrels are just before dawn and shortly after sunset. Their scurrying is light and fast.

Raccoons may also make this sort of noise, but with a raccoon it will be more of a "walking" sound, a bit heavier than a squirrel, and not as fast.

Heavy walking or crawling is a very unique sound that almost always indicates the presence of a raccoon, whether it occurs during the day or night.

Heavy walking or crawling is a very unique sound that almost always indicates the presence of a raccoon, whether it occurs during the day or night.

If you can clearly hear the sound of flapping during the day, it is definitely a bird.

If you hear flapping at night, it is either a trapped bird or a bat. Nuisance birds are generally not active at night, so if you hear flapping it may be a bird that has become trapped. The flapping of a bat's wings is very soft, almost like a dull whirring. If you hear a very faint, soft whirring, it may mean a bat is flying around nearby in the dark.

Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall. It is not as common at night, but certainly can happen then as well if the hive is big enough.

Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by the presence of a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall.

A sound of chirping or chattering usually means there are baby animals present. What species depends on the season, but it is very common for baby squirrels, raccoons, or birds (especially chimney swifts) to make these noises. Please contact Creature Control for a more thorough diagnosis.

A sound of chirping or chattering usually means there are baby animals present. What species depends on the season, but it is very common for baby squirrels, raccoons, or birds (especially chimney swifts) to make these noises. Please contact Creature Control for a more thorough diagnosis.