Common House Centipedes

Facts, Identification, & Control

Scientific Name

Scutigera coleoptrata

Appearance

What Do They Look Like?

picture of a house centipede
  • Size: House centipedes have long, flattened bodies, which can measure as long as 1-1/2 inches long
  • Color: The body is a yellowish-brown with three dark stripes running along the top of the body with lighter shading between them.
  • Eyes: They have large, well-developed eyes.
  • Legs: The arthropods have 15 segments, and each features one pair of legs. The centipede’s legs are long, slender, and thread-like, and have black and white banding. On females, the last pair of legs is more than twice as long as the body.

How Did I Get House Centipedes?

House centipedes prefer damp and dark areas. As a result, homes with moisture problems can attract these pests. Residents may see them in basements, closets, or bathrooms, sometimes even in tubs or sinks. House centipedes will prey on insects that are in the same areas.

How Serious Are House Centipedes?

Though possible, house centipede bites are rare. And since they eat insects, most people consider them harmless and even beneficial. However, they may become a nuisance. Worried residents may crush a house centipede, which can leave behind stains.

Signs of Infestation

Centipedes typically leave no direct evidence other than being spotted in a sink or tub and being seen quickly running across floors or climbing on walls and ceilings.

How Do I Get Rid of House Centipedes?

What Orkin Does
If house centipedes become a problem, the best course of action is to seek the advice and assistance of your pest management professional (PMP).

  • Inspection:  Your PMP will perform an inspection and determine the most likely sources of the population.
  • Traps: He or she might set out some sticky traps to monitor for their activity, but will certainly advise the homeowner on what can be done to reduce moist conditions and upgrade exclusions for possible and actual points of entry.
  • Remove Clutter: Outside recommendations will include removing clutter that serves as house centipede habitat.
  • Kill Other Pests: Eliminating other insect species from the home is an effective control strategy because centipedes depend on insects and other arthropods for food. For this reason, it’s very important to identify other pests inside houses and buildings and target those pests using both non-chemical and chemical control methods as appropriate for the situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep house centipedes in their place…out of your home, or business.


Behavior, Diet, & Habits

What Do They Eat?
House centipedes eat common household arthropods and insects such as:

Where Do They Live?
Outdoors, these house centipedes are commonly seen in and under rocks, stacks of firewood, leaf litter, and tree bark. Once inside a home they are usually found in damp secluded areas such as:

  • Basements
  • Bathrooms
  • Crawl spaces
  • Garage
  • Kitchens

Life Cycle

House Centipedes complete three phases in their life cycle.

  1. Egg: Females lay 35 or more eggs in damp soil during the spring or summer months.
  2. Larvae: Larvae hatch from the eggs and have four pairs of legs when born.
  3. Adult: More legs develop as they go through six instars or stages.

Lifespan
Female house centipedes may live up to three years.

 

More Information

What Do House Centipedes Eat?

Do House Centipedes Bite?