Poisonous Centipedes

Are House Centipedes Poisonous to Humans?

All centipedes produce venom with which to subdue their prey, and venom is poisonous. Despite this, the venom usually is not strong enough to be life threatening to people, and most centipede bites are typically more painful for humans than they are dangerous.

Centipedes possess maxillipeds, a modified pair of front legs that curve around the head and behind the mandibles. Maxillipeds enter a victim’s tissue and inject venom produced by a gland at their base. Small centipedes’ maxillipeds are too weak to penetrate human skin, and their bite typically yields only minor discomfort, similar to that caused by a bee sting.

Individuals with other insect allergies should observe their symptoms closely in the event of a centipede bite. Beyond the initial pain caused by an attack, possible side effects include severe swelling, chills, fever and weakness. In the event of a severe allergic reaction, emergency medical services should be contacted immediately.