Too Many Legs to Count: What You Need to Know About Centipedes

many centipedes on wooden background

If you have seen creepy, crawly pests with too many legs to count scurrying around your home, you might have centipedes. These bugs can be frightening and are often a cause for worry.

If you have centipedes, or any pests, in your home, call Environmental Pest Management. We have the experience you need to take care of any pests in your home.

Centipede close-up. Brown centipede crawling on the wooden surface.

What are Centipedes?

House centipedes are known to scientists as Scutigera coleoptrata. To the general public, house centipedes are known as the “hundred leggers” even though they have less than one hundred legs the name suggests. 

What house centipedes do have are 15 pairs of very long legs which help the furtive pests run extremely fast. These swift-moving pests may be scurrying right into your home soon as they are known for searching out warmer habitats in early fall. 

According to the University of Minnesota Extension, you may discover house centipedes running across a wall, ceiling, or open room toward a dark area. 

They may stop abruptly and remain motionless before they suddenly begin running again with excellent maneuverability over and around objects. If you see centipedes darting around, here’s two primary reasons to contact a pest control company like Environmental Pest Management.

  1. Centipedes in your home could mean they are happily hunting prey inside the house, and you may have another insect problem. A professional will look for bedbugs, termites, cockroaches, silverfish, spiders, and other household pests. 
  2. You want to halt any potential centipede infestation by sealing up all access points and eliminating the ones already inside before they settle in. Environment Pest Management will quickly and authoritatively show them the door.

centipede

Bathroom Invaders

Outside, centipedes primarily live under large rocks, under piles of wood, in compost piles, or buried in mulch piles around outdoor planters. They start to come indoors when the weather turns colder. 

Entry points for house centipedes are usually gaps in your home’s foundation, around door frames, or through broken and basement windows. Knowing this, you can try to implement measures to keep them out. 

The University of Minnesota Extension, suggests you start on the outside of your home. You should seal cracks in exterior walls, remove leaf litter, and trim foundation plantings.

Once they break in, house centipedes usually head for dark corners, damp basements, crawlspaces, and bathrooms. They like places that are dark, moist, and damp. 

As a result, house centipedes are known to get trapped in sinks and toilet bowls. They will sometimes emerge from the bathtub or other drain holes. WHOA!

If the thought of sharing a bathroom with house centipedes make you shudder, you should initiate contact with Environmental Pest Management sooner rather than later. 

Nighttime Hunters

Nighttime is when stealthy and covert house centipedes love to hunt. They feed on insects, spiders, cockroaches, moths, crickets, silverfish, and other arthropods, like sowbugs and millipedes. 

Some even say this predatory habit and diet is what makes house centipedes potentially one of the good guys and worth keeping around the house. If you are not among that group, the Environmental Pest Management phone number is 952-432-2221.

Scary long red dirty centipede on a light background. Macro photography of insects, selective focus, copy space.

More Speed Than Bite But Beware

The legs of the centipede are on the side of the body, rather than underneath.  This enables the house centipede to move extremely fast. According to insectidentification.org, their ability to go from 0-60 mph in half a heartbeat can be freaky.

Though scary looking, house centipedes are not considered dangerous. They may bite, however, if picked up and handled. 

The painful, local reaction to a centipede bite will be similar to a bee sting, and it could become red and swollen. There could be an allergic reaction. Children are often more sensitive to the bite.

More Identifying Characteristics

The University of Minnesota Extension provides a list of identifying characteristics of a house centipede on their website:

  1. They are more than 1 inch long fully grown.
  2. House centipedes have fifteen pairs of long, jointed legs that are striped.
  3. Their flattened brownish or grayish-yellow body is marked with three dark stripes
  4. Two long, whip-like antennae and “feelers allow them to locate prey in the dark moist places where they like to live and hunt for food.”

You can also check out our online pest library for photos of house centipedes and more identifying facts.

centipede

How Many Centipedes Can A Centipede Produce?

Ready for another WHOA? The house centipede can live its complete life span indoors. According to Ohio University Extension, They overwinter as adults and lay eggs in the spring. Females deposit as many as 60 eggs and often wind their bodies around their eggs to protect them from other predators. Eggs will hatch around 3 months later. Larvae, or newly hatched centipedes, are very seldom seen.

If you believe “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” give Environmental Pest Management a call at (952) 432-2221.

Free Estimates For All Pest Control

It’s getting cold outside, which means all kinds of other pests are trying to get inside. Environmental Pest Management has developed some helpful ways to keep a host of these bugs outside. This blog post provides a good starter list.

Environmental Pest Management provides services to east-central Minnesota including the greater ten county metro area of the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs. We also service several communities in Western Wisconsin. 

We customize our pest control programs with considerations for your safety and budget. An initial inspection will include a chance to go over your concerns and expectations. You will find a full description of Environmental Pest Management residential services right here.

Let us help you get rid of the “WHOA” and reclaim your home!

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