The Most Common House Bugs With Lots of Legs

Household bugs come in all shapes and sizes, and the number of legs can be a key identifying factor. Only insects (such as cockroaches, ants, and flies) have six legs – any more, and you’ve got a different beastie entirely on your hands.

So, what are the most common house bugs with lots of legs, how can you tell them apart and (most importantly), how can you get rid of them? Not all house bugs are bad news, but if you find yourself overrun with centipedes, millipedes, spiders, and pillbugs, you may want to implement preventative control measures to stop them from getting in.

House centipedes

House centipede in a sink

Jon Osumi/

What are they?

These arthropods have long, flattened, elongated bodies and 15 pairs of legs, one for each body segment.

House centipedes are predatory bugs and will hunt and eat silverfish, cockroaches, carpet beetle larvae, spiders and several other pest species. All centipedes have poison and take down their prey with a venomous bite, but are very unlikely to bite people unless they are directly handled. Unlike most centipedes, which prefer to live in dark, damp, outdoor locations, the house centipede is a common pest in homes throughout the United States.

How can you get rid of them?

Given their tendency to prey on other, more problematic pests (such as roaches) the odd house centipede can be an asset to your home. However, they can survive for several years and have a tendency to breed quickly, so they can become a nuisance when present in large numbers.

The best way to control a population of house centipedes is to make your home less inviting. First, find out what their food source is (i.e. what other bugs they are eating). You can do this by laying out a few sticky traps to see what you catch; whatever bugs you have most of are likely to be luring them in.

Once you have identified your target you can get to work exterminating these prey species, and the number of centipedes in your home will drop as a result. Centipedes often enter buildings simply by walking in, so consider fitting draft stoppers beneath ground-level doors to stop them (and other pests) from crawling underneath.


millipede on the floor

Shel Shem/

What are they?

With a name that literally means ‘thousand feet,’ millipedes have more legs than any other known bug. They prefer damp, dark conditions and usually live outdoors, where they can often be found under compost, mulch, leaf litter, stones, and flowerpots. If the weather outside becomes excessively dry or wet, however, they may migrate indoors – sometimes in large numbers.

How can you get rid of them?

Millipedes will not bite, sting, spread diseases or damage the contents or structure of your house. However, large numbers of them can be a nuisance, so how can you keep them out?

The most effective way to keep millipedes away is to make your home less appealing to them. This means eliminating moisture sites and removing any possible food sources or hiding places around the outside of your home (such as piles of firewood, leaf litter or boxes).


Franco Folini/Wikimedia Commons

What are they?

Pillbugs (aka roly-polys or woodlice) usually live outdoors but will invade homes if indoor conditions are moist and they have a plentiful food supply. These isopods have 7 pairs of legs and are actually a type of crustacean but, unlike crabs, lobsters and shrimp, have evolved to live on land.

These nocturnal bugs prefer dark, damp, humid places and will usually hang out under logs, rocks and leaf litter during the day, where they feed on decaying organic matter. Under normal circumstances, they can’t survive indoors for more than a few days but will sometimes wander in under ground-floor doorways. They don’t bite or spread diseases, but pillbugs can be a nuisance if present in large numbers.

How can you get rid of them?

Pillbugs don’t usually survive for long indoors and will only thrive in moist environments with plentiful food sources. Therefore, you can prevent pillbugs from coming inside by eliminating moisture, improving ventilation in enclosed areas (such as the basement or crawlspaces), or setting up a dehumidifier.

If you have piles of firewood, leaf litter or plant clippings outside, clear them away or make sure they are kept away from the home to avoid attracting pillbugs.


spider in front of a house

Nikhil Kompally/

What are they?

Spiders are one of the most common many-legged home invaders, and almost every house in the world is likely to have at least one arachnid lurking in a dusty corner. Like centipedes, spiders are useful to have around and can help to keep numbers of other, disease-spreading pests (such as flies) to a minimum. Unfortunately, most people are freaked out by spiders and even more so when faced with dozens of them.

How can you get rid of them?

If you are suddenly noticing a lot of spiders around your home, it’s likely that they are being drawn in by an abundance of food and water. Eliminate moisture sites and populations of other insect species in your house to avoid attracting spiders, and consider fitting screens and draft stoppers around your doors and windows.


Most many-legged beasties are completely harmless to humans, and some (like spiders and centipedes) may even help to keep populations of other, more problematic pest species in check. Unfortunately, they still give people the creeps and can be a nuisance to have indoors, especially if they breed and form large, established populations.

Millipedes, centipedes, pillbugs, and spiders are all common house bugs that have a lot of legs, though most only occasionally invade homes. You can discourage them from coming in by eliminating moisture sites around your house, clearing away any leaf litter, mulch or discarded boxes left outside, and installing draft stoppers under doors. If you have recurrent pest invasions, you may need to contact an exterminator to identify the root of the problem.



wow now i get what bugs i haves

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