As their name suggests, millipedes and centipedes are arthropods with a lot of legs. Both millipedes and centipedes like dark moist environments and can usually be found under pots, logs, and large stones, in the garden.
Millipedes have two sets of legs on each body segment, while centipedes have only one set of legs on each body segment. Millipedes usually move slower than centipedes.
Millipedes mostly feed on decomposing plant matter and so help with decomposition and the cycling of nutrients in the garden. They may start to feed on live roots and other parts of plants if they run out of decomposing matter. Despite this, millipedes won’t usually cause much harm to your plants unless their numbers become very high, which is rare.
Millipedes are part of the garden food chain and are food for toads, birds, and some spiders, which are beneficial for your garden. If you do see an increase in their numbers, you can clear logs and stones near your house to discourage them. Millipedes don’t bite but they produce toxins when they feel attacked, to which some people are allergic so it’s best to not directly touch them.
On the other hand centipedes are predatory carnivores that love to eat insects, including plant pests, making them good for pest control.
Soil centipedes are light tan to dark brown colored thin but long centipedes that are commonly found under rotting leaf litter and in the soil. They prey on pests and other insects found in the soil. In addition, the burrowing action of soil centipedes increases air exchange with the soil and also creates tiny tunnels for water and nutrients to flow through.
Some centipedes do bite and their bites can be very painful so if you aren’t sure what type it is keep your distance. They usually aren’t easily seen in the garden and if they do surface they run away and seek shelter immediately.
Overall, millipedes and centipedes are good for the garden. They are part of your garden ecosystem and function as food for many other larger beneficial creatures.
Millipedes help with decomposition and nutrient cycling and don’t cause any noticeable damage to plants in small numbers. Centipedes are predators that can help control pest insect populations, while soil centipedes increase air exchange, water, and nutrient flow in the soil.
Did you know that millipedes and centipedes are good for the garden? – Let us know in the comments