Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Even the most stouthearted individual might take a step back if surprised by this bizarre, long legged, fast moving Arthropod.
While the house centipede might look freakish and eerie, it is actually a helpful insect residing in your environment. They feed on undesirable insects, such as spiders, silverfish and cockroaches that invade your home.
The house centipede needs a damp environment to survive. They prefer to make their home in dark, damp places such as bathrooms, closets, basements and cellars. They come out at night to hunt prey, usually hiding during the daylight hours.
The usual color of the house centipede is yellow or gray, with brown stripes running along it’s back. Their legs have alternating light and dark bands running around them. The adult house centipede has an elongated, flattened body, one to one and a half inches in length, with fifteen pairs of long legs, with the last pair of legs almost twice the length of their body. Adding their lengthy antennas, this can make them look up to three to five inches long. They can scuttle, stop and then dart quickly across a floor, wall or ceiling. Imagine being surprised by this bug during a sleepy trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night!
The house centipede is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean, and has spread throughout the world. The house centipede can live its life totally indoors, and what a long life it can be. Their life span can be between three to seven years.
Although the house centipede can bite, its jaws are weak, so bites are ineffective to humans. Stings are also uncommon, but if you do get stung, it is usually compared to a bee sting with localized pain, redness and swelling. I wouldn’t suggest picking one up.
If you are bothered by a large number of house centipedes, here are a few suggestions to help decrease their numbers. Since they are foragers of other insects, reducing their food source is usually a good first step. Control humidity levels in bathrooms, basements and cellar areas. Close off and seal cracks and crevices to keep them from entering from any of the high humidity areas where they may be harboring. Make sure that water can drain away from the buildings foundation, keeping moisture levels down. Putting out glue boards will help you determine if you have a problem. Keep in mind if you are seeing a large number of these centipedes, you may have an abundance of other insects, which may need to be dealt with.
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To learn more about Kansas related pests, visit our Pest Library and Knowledge Center.