House centipedes are intimidating little critters that can send chills up and down your spine. They are extremely fast, making them hard to catch or kill without the use of insecticides. They are also poisonous and can inflict a pretty nasty wound if given a chance. All negatives aside, they are carnivorous and hunt other household pests. In their natural habitats, they help to control the populations of other small creatures and bring balance to the ecosystem.

If you find that you have house centipedes in your home, you may have more of a problem than you think. House centipedes need a steady source of food and adequate moisture, which could indicate that you have other unwanted pests and a possible moisture issue in or around your home. Understanding house centipedes will help you determine the best course of action to protect your family and home.

What Is a House Centipede?

Centipedes are elongated invertebrates that have individual body segments containing one pair of legs each. Unlike millipedes, centipedes have long-jointed legs that cradles their bodies higher off the ground and allows them to move rather quickly. House centipedes are a particular species that is commonly found inside homes. These creepy looking creatures are skilled predators that hunt, kill, and eat other small critters such as roaches, flies, insect larvae, and spiders. In this regard, they could be considered allies in the fight against all the small unwanted pests that could infest your home.

House centipedes are poisonous. They incapacitate their victims by injecting venom with a paralyzing agent into their prey before having them for their next meal. Though they prefer to hunt, house centipedes will scavenge for a meal if necessary. They are always on the move and in search of their next meal. House centipedes are known for being faster than their prey as well as their natural predators, and they can often escape from people by sheer speed alone.

During spring and early summer, female house centipedes lay eggs. They can lay anywhere between 60 to 150 eggs at a time. House centipede larvae have considerably fewer segments and legs than their adult counterparts and must go through several successful molts before reaching adulthood. Molting is the process by which they shed their skin and add segments, gaining one segment with one pair of legs with each successful molt.

House centipedes have incredibly long legs, with their legs being just as long as their body. When they capture prey, they outmaneuver them with their speed, pounce on them, and then wrap them up with their long legs as if they were a rancher lassoing a calf. House centipedes are capable of capturing several unfortunate victims at once and will begin eating one while detaining the others until ready for them.      

What Do House Centipedes Look Like?

Image via Flickr by brian.gratwicke

House centipedes are some of the most creepy looking critters on the planet. They are made up of segments and have one pair of legs per segment. They can grow up to 2 inches in length and have 15 pairs of legs. They have three dark stripes running the length of their yellowish-brown colored body. They have well-developed eyes that are reasonably large. House centipedes' legs are long, slender, thread-like, and have white and black banding. On the last segment of female house centipedes, the legs are twice as long as its body or longer.

Where Do House Centipedes Live?

Centipedes are found on every continent except Antarctica and are common throughout the United States. They are well-adapted to many different climates, and they thrive where moisture is abundant and food is readily available. When in nature, they can be found under logs, landscaping timbers, rocks, or any other protected and damp locations. The house centipede is the most common species of centipede found inside homes. When in your home, they can be found in closets, laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchen sinks, crawl spaces, and basements.

Problems With House Centipedes

House centipedes are poisonous, and though it rarely happens, they can inflict a rather painful bite to humans. In most cases, they aren't able to penetrate human skin but may be more of a risk to children and small pets. Other than the risk of a painful bite or an unexpected encounter in the middle of the night, house centipedes do not cause any damage to your property or your home. They don't make nests, spin webs, or leave any signs of their presence.

The primary reasons why homeowners are fearful of house centipedes are their solitary nature, darting motions, and their creepy appearance. If you are concerned about house centipedes infesting your home, you may need to reach out to a professional pest control agency for help. An expert can diagnose the problem and implement a plan to eliminate the threat of having house centipedes in your home.

House Centipede Control Solutions

The best way to control house centipede populations is prevention. There are several actions you can take to reduce or eliminate house centipedes from your home and property. Inspect your home and property for areas that are ideal for house centipedes to live, feed, and reproduce. Place glue traps in and around your home to determine if you have a problem with house centipedes and other types of pests. 

If you are dealing with house centipedes, removal of landscape timbers, rocks, or other prime habitats that are close to your house can help to reduce their populations due to their need for shade, protection, and moisture. In the majority of cases involving house centipedes in your home, there is an abundance of food sources available that has drawn them in. To eliminate the chances of a house centipede invasion, you should focus on killing off all other pests that could be considered as a food source for them.

House centipedes can startle you and potentially cause a painful bite, but they aren't a direct threat to you, your family, your pets, or your home. They are beneficial for keeping other pest populations in check but can be an unsightly and unwanted house guest. By taking the time to understand how house centipedes survive, you will be in a better position to protect your family and home.

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