General Information

Most people don’t give much thought to centipedes until they find them in their homes. Centipedes, while small and seemingly innocuous, are actually venomous arthropods that can leave you with a painful and itchy bite and an infested home. Explore what centipedes are, what they look like, why you may have these creatures in or around your home, and tactics you can use to control or prevent a centipede infestation.

What Are Centipedes?

Centipedes are part of a predatory arthropod class known as Chilopoda, which also includes millipedes and other creatures with multiple legs. There are an estimated 3,150 species of centipedes throughout the world and four different orders of centipedes. Each class of centipede varies in leg segments and number of legs.

The most common type of centipede found in the United States is the house centipede. Other species of centipede found in North America include:

Many centipedes are venomous and can cause painful and itchy bites. They inject their venom via pincer-like appendages called forcipules. Most centipedes are carnivorous and eat soft-bodied insects such as worms, spiders, and even other centipedes. While they don’t feed on humans, they may bite you if you pick one up or accidentally step on one.

What Do Centipedes Look Like?

Image via Flickr by gailhampshire

Each species of centipede varies in its appearance; however, most species share a few similarities. These similarities include a brown or reddish-orange color; a long, flat, and segmented body; a pair of antennae on the head; and claw-like structures used for paralyzing prey. Centipedes also have several legs that range from 15 to 177 pairs per arthropod.

More specific features of each common species found in the United States include:

Why Do I Have Centipedes In or Around My Home?

If you notice a centipede in your home, there’s a good chance that there are more where it came from. Here are a few reasons you may be experiencing a centipede infestation:

Centipedes won’t cause harm to your home; most people consider them more of a nuisance than an actual problem. But, having a centipede infestation does increase you and your family’s risk of experiencing centipede bites, which can leave behind painful bite wounds. Stepping on a centipede can also cause stains on your flooring, which could result in needed cleanings and/or flooring repairs.

What to Do If You’re Bit by a Centipede

While centipede bites can be a little painful, they rarely cause serious damage. Here are a few first-aid best practices to follow if you’re bit by a centipede:

  1. Apply heat to the area where the bite occurred, or immerse the bite in hot water.
  2. Use ice packs to reduce swelling.
  3. Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug to reduce pain and inflammation. You can also take an antihistamine to prevent an allergic reaction.
  4. Seek medical attention if you’re experiencing severe symptoms or your symptoms don’t improve in a few days.

Centipede Control and Prevention

If you’re worried about centipedes in and around your home, there are several things you can do to eradicate a current centipede infestation as well as prevent future ones:

Preventing centipede infestations can reduce the chances of you or your family experiencing painful bites and eliminate these pests in your living space. If you have questions about how to deal with centipede infestations, reach out to Bulwark Exterminating today.

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