Difference Between Centipedes and Silverfish

Updated December 10, 2022

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

What’s the difference between centipedes and silverfish?

Is there anything creepier than running into a silverfish or centipede? All of those wiggling legs? Ugh. These two common pests in the Memphis area have quite a few similarities but also some key differences as well. Let’s go over the differences between centipedes and silverfish. 

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The Centipede

House centipedes are a specific species of centipede that can create a large nuisance and often require professional treatment to get rid of. These types of centipedes are the only centipede that is commonly found in human dwellings. 

The house centipede typically has long, spindly legs— typically 15 pairs or so. Older centipedes have more legs. The house centipede can move very fast, and they often move in a darting nature.

Though they are called house centipedes, they can live outdoors as well. When they are indoors, they like dark and moist spots, like basements, damp closets, and bathrooms. This location preference is also common among another creepy crawler: silverfish.

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Like house centipedes, silverfish also love to live in the bathroom because they feed on fungal molds and organic matter commonly found in the bathroom. Silverfish can also live in attics, basements, and crawl spaces. They are known to damage items they feast on, like wallpaper, book bindings, and natural fabrics. Centipedes snack on that type of material because they prefer a diet high in starch, which can be found in the adhesives and fillers that are associated with those materials.

Another similarity between centipedes and silverfish is they can both move extremely quickly. 

In terms of differences, the silverfish is an actual insect, unlike the centipede, and has six legs. Some of the other differences between the two species include:

  • Silverfish don’t grow as long as house centipedes do. The average length for silverfish is half an inch to one inch. House centipedes can grow to be an inch and a half long.
  • Silverfish are a shiny silver of gray, as the name suggests. House centipedes are a gray-yellow color.
  • Silverfish are uniform in color throughout their bodies. House centipedes have dark longitudinal stripes and bands on their legs.

Unfortunately, the silverfish is notoriously hard to get rid of. If you suspect silverfish are living in your home, don’t wait to contact a professional pest control expert. 

Have silverfish or centipedes? We can help

Whether you’re dealing with silverfish or centipedes and any other pest problem in between, count on Foundation Pest Control. Our services are simply the best way to protect your family and home. Our goal is simple. Protect your home from unwanted pest invaders while offering the best customer experience possible. Contact us today to find out more!