Centipedes are long and flattened with multi-segmented soft bodies. These creatures come with a pair of short jointed legs positioned on each body segment. Most people would think that centipedes have 100 legs however the actual number varies from 30 to 302 legs (15-151 pairs).
Generally centipedes are found in damp conditions such as under mulch or rotting timber or leaves. The first pair of legs are modified into poison claws or jaws, used for attacking prey.
The bite of a centipede can be very painful however no fatalities have ever been recorded.
There are three types of centipedes found around the home and garden; the house centipede, the giant centipede and the ribbon centipede.


The house centipede occurs in damp environments and regular sightings inside the home may indicate that an underlying moisture problem will be found somewhere.

Commonly subfloor ventilation and/or drainage may be inadequate, creating perfect conditions for centipedes and other damp-loving creatures.

The house centipede has fifteen body segments with a pair of fragile jointed legs on each (30 total). Colour is pale brown with dark markings.

The house centipede only lives for about a year. If handled carelessly or hurt the centipede can “drop” legs as a defence strategy. Generally harmless.


Pest controllers are seldom required to treat for centipedes as centipedes generally remain in their damp environment, only venturing inside our homes accidentally or if there is a sustained high moisture problem.


The giant centipede is Australia’s largest centipede reaching up to 150 mm in length. Most are orange but variances include colours such as green, brown and yellow.

The giant centipede can live for around 2-3 years, favouring damp environments like under leaf or garden litter.
The giant centipede is known to bite with the jaws under the head, causing much pain with localised swelling but no fatalities.

The giant centipede will be found in the open at night when it is searching for insects and other small creatures to eat.


If centipedes are seen regularly inside your home a thorough inspection for causes should be undertaken.
Inadequate subfloor drainage and/or ventilation or damaged plumbing may be evident, and once rectified the environment will not suit centipedes and sightings should diminish.


It is common for the casual observer to confuse millipedes with centipedes… Millipedes come in a variety of colours and sizes. Millipedes have two pairs of legs for each body segment (centipedes have one pair for each body segment), and the body shape of millipedes is rounded, not flattened like centipedes.

Body segments may be telescoped and variable in number. When walking millipede legs appear to have a “wave-like” motion, running from the front to the rear. Millipedes may grow up to 20 cm in length, feeding on any organic and vegetable matter available.

Millipedes favour a variety of environments to rear their young, however damp conditions is usually where you will find them active. Millipedes do not usually inflict a wound, however they do possess an effective defence mechanism; the production of a fluid which has repellent properties, effective on other insects and spiders.


Usually no more than a nuisance pest around the damp areas of our gardens, pest controllers are seldom called upon to treat for these creatures.

If however they are in large numbers these garden pests may inadvertantly draw attention to themselves by crossing paths or “bumping” into our fences and homes, at which point they are seen as unsightly.


Waves of millipedes marching towards house walls or other barriers around the home may be halted by creating a pesticide barrier around the home which will destroy most of them before they reach areas where they are not welcome.

PESTKILL Australia recommends that you engage a professional pest controller who has had experience dealing with this despised pest. Do-it-yourself efforts are likely not to succeed unfortunately.

Please consider carefully before attempting your own pest control. Remember……