Image from above of a centipede, millipede and earwig on a white background

Earwigs and millipedes are unsightly and a bit scary looking. Millipedes don’t sting like wasps or cause structural damage like termites – so they aren’t terrible. However, they can swarm when in large numbers, which looks disturbing.

Similarly, earwigs are less destructive and less dangerous than other insects, but they can produce a noticeably bad odor. On the plus side, centipedes eat spiders and other insects, and earwigs are scavengers who eat anything… so they can help deter other pests – though that doesn’t mean you should tolerate them in your home.

What’s the Difference Between Millipedes, Centipedes, and Earwigs?

Both millipedes and centipedes live in damp areas, predominantly outside, such as under objects and in damp soil. Earwigs, by contrast, live inside homes, especially in cracks and gaps on or near the ground.

Centipedes have flattened bodies composed of 10 to 100 segments with a pair of legs on most segments. Millipedes have a similar appearance, but they are brownish and have a pair of legs on each segment. Earwigs look completely different with far fewer legs and a reddish-brown color. However, they have a pair of large forceps on their abdomen.

Learn more about our Pest-Free 365+ program, which covers 3 dozen common insect pests, including earwigs, centipedes, and millipedes. 

Why Is An Earwig Called An Earwig?

Conventional wisdom says that earwigs get their names from “ear wigglers.” This is a reference to old stories that say earwigs crawl into people’s ears to bite or lay eggs. Some stories gruesomely suggest that they crawl into the ear and eat the brain. It isn’t true – except in horror stories.

Language experts say that “earwig” actually comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “ear-wicga.” However, that still translates to “ear wiggler.” Others argue that the correct translation is “ear-wing,” alluding to their appearance.

Do Earwigs Bite?

“Bites” are caused by mouths, teeth, or mandibles, so earwigs can technically bite, but they rarely do. What people generally refer to as an “earwig bite” is actually pinches from their forceps. The pinch can be strong enough to break the skin and draw blood, but usually it’s just a strong pinch.

Why Do I Have Millipedes In My House?

Millipedes like a damp environment so they usually come indoors to find water when it’s too dry outside. However, cold temperatures or excessive rain can also cause them to seek shelter in your home.

Are Millipedes Poisonous?

Millipedes are not poisonous. Many people mistakenly think they are because of the harm they can cause. Many types of millipedes have glands that can produce hydrochloric acid which they can spray as a defensive maneuver. That acid causes a chemical burn and, in some people, an allergic reaction which led to the poison myth.

Arrow Exterminating Can Handle All Pest Control Needs

If you find millipedes, centipedes, earwigs, or any other kind of infestation, call us at Arrow Exterminating. The sooner you contact us then the sooner we can help you live in a pest-free environment.  To get started, contact Arrow Exterminating today.

Should You Be Concerned About Earwigs and Millipedes? Serving Long Island and surrounding areas

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