CENTIPEDES

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The House Centipede

You’ve seen a centipede and you are certain it is poisonous. All of those legs are scary looking. Centipedes get their name from the belief that they have 100 legs. This is not true. Centipedes can have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs or 30 to 354 total legs. It is interesting that centipedes will always have an odd number of pairs of legs. Centipedes are mistakenly thought of as insects but centipedes are not insects due to the number of legs they have. Insects only have six legs. Centipedes are considered insectivores because they hunt and eat small bugs. There are about 3,100 species of centipedes around the world. Centipedes are considered poisonous because they are capable of injecting venom as they bite with their forcipules.  In general, centipedes are not harmful to dogs, cats or even humans because most centipedes do not have the strength to puncture skin. Still, the thought that one could bite and inject poison is enough for you to want the centipedes stricken from your home. Let’s look at some information about centipedes.

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FAQ

Appearance

What do centipedes look like?

When you see a centipede crawling across your floor, you have no doubt that it is a centipede because of its distinctive look. Centipedes look scary. Centipedes look like they can hurt you simply by touching your foot with one of its wiggling legs. Yikes! The distinctive features of a centipede are:

  • Yellowish to dark brown or red, with or without stripes that run down the body and legs
  • 15 to 177 pairs of legs
  • Long, flat, segmented body
  • 1/8 to 6 inches in length, depending on the species
  • Two sensitive antennae
  • Small mouths
  • Two claw-like appendages (forcipules) near the mouth that can pinch and inject venom
  • Forward facing head

Habitat

Centipede Habitat

Centipedes can be found throughout the United States. Centipedes need moisture to survive so anywhere there is moisture around your home, centipedes are likely to be found. You are likely to see centipedes as they are out hunting insects to eat. Centipedes are driven by their need for food. Often, a good source of food for a centipede is inside your home where insects have taken up residence. When centipedes are not hunting, they will be resting in dark, moist areas in and around your home. Without moisture, centipedes cannot live long. In the right conditions, centipedes can live up to seven years. If you suspect you have centipedes in or around your home, here are some places to look:

  • Under rocks
  • Under wood piles
  • Among leaf litter
  • In cracks and crevices
  • Inside floor drains
  • Basements
  • Crawl spaces
  • Any high humidity area in your home

Entry into your home or business

Don't Allow Centipedes In Your Home Or Business

Centipedes are flat creatures that are likely living in the well-watered flowerbeds around your home or business. Centipedes will strike out of their hiding place as they hunt for insects to eat. This hunt for insects will often find centipedes inside your home or business. Centipedes can enter your home or business through any unsealed door or window, a crack in the foundation, weep holes, vents, and around pipes. Once inside, centipedes like to hide in dark corners, cracks and crevices in the walls and under anything you might have on the floor. Basements are prime hunting grounds for centipedes since basements tend to be high moisture areas. Centipedes will also migrate towards bathrooms and kitchens as they hunt for food and places to hide since they can find moisture under sinks and in drains. Centipedes are hunters so will go where the insects are but they cannot live long in dry conditions.

Damage

Can Centipedes Cause Damage To Your Home?

Centipedes are a nuisance. There is no doubt about that. Centipedes are sinister looking. You are probably afraid of centipedes and you certainly don’t want centipedes in your home. While centipedes look scary, they do not damage your property. Centipedes have small pincers they use when hunting to catch and inject a poison to paralyze their victims. Most centipede species don’t have strong enough pincers to pierce human skin. If the pincers can’t pierce your skin, they can’t inject their venom. In fact, pets have been known to play with and eat centipedes without being harmed. Still, you don’t want to take any chances if you see a centipede crawling across the floor.

Control and Safety

How To Control Centipedes

It is important to you that your family be safe. You don’t want your toddler getting bit by a centipede. You don’t want anyone in your family to be hurt so you do everything you can to make sure your home is safe. That includes taking care of any potentially harmful pests like a centipede. You want to be sure you have done everything you can to maintain control of pests in your home. You want to be sure there is no centipede crawling across the floor. If you do see a centipede inside your home, you know there are plenty more outside and you want them all gone. You don’t want any more centipedes making their way into your peaceful home.

Prevention and Removal

How To Eliminate Centipedes From Your Home

Prevention is important when it comes to centipedes. There are things you can do on your own to eliminate an inviting environment for centipedes. Keep firewood stacked away from your home. Don’t let leaves, pine needles, or grass clippings pile up next to your home. Make sure gutters drain away from your home. Seal your doors and windows. Seal any cracks you can find in your home. Seal around pipes and vents. Control leaks in your kitchen and bathrooms. Use a dehumidifier in your basement.  Prevent other pests from living in your home so centipedes can’t find a source of food inside.  If you have waited too long to eliminate the moisture in and around your home or if other pests have invaded your home and you see a centipede, you will want to contact a licensed pest control professional to safely and effectively eliminate all centipedes from in and around your home. A licensed pest control professional knows exactly how and when to apply appropriate pesticides to stop the life cycle from continuing. A licensed pest control professional will become your best friend when he eliminates centipedes from your home.

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Final Note

Centipedes are scary, worm-like creatures with many legs. Centipedes are thought to have 100 legs, thus their name. The truth is, centipedes can have anywhere from 30 to 354 legs. Centipedes are hunters and will enter your home to look for insects that may be lurking in the shadows. Centipedes require a moist environment since they will dry out and die without moisture. The legs of a centipede are not poisonous, but they do have two little pincers (forcipules) they use to catch and paralyze their prey by injecting venom. Most species of centipedes cannot puncture human skin with their pincers. It has been reported that centipede species that can pierce human skin produce a pain similar to a bee sting. Many pets play with centipedes and even eat centipedes without harm. Even so, you do not like seeing centipedes in or around your home so you want them gone. The best and most effective way of eliminating centipedes is to contact a licensed pest control specialist. A licensed pest control specialist has the knowledge required to safely and effectively apply treatment in the right place at the right time. You can sleep soundly at night knowing your pest problem is solved when a licensed pest control specialist has treated your home.

Other Common Pests Found In North Texas:

Termites     Sowbugs     Mosquitoes     Wasps     Bees     Centipedes