Adult centipedes hide in moist, dark and secluded areas during winter. They place eggs in dampened soil during summer or spring. As centipedes become adults, they grow a complete set of legs and extra segments. Most centipedes live for more than a year and some up to six years.
Centipedes may enter houses and buildings, but they do not roam during daytime. Centipedes are fast moving, agile, nocturnal animals. They hide in damp areas around bathrooms, closets, basements and other sites typically infested by pests.
Most centipedes are carnivorous and prey upon soft-bodied insects, spiders, worms and other arthropods, including other centipedes. Read more about what they eat.
Centipedes are not likely to consume wood. In actuality, arthropods commonly known as wood eating centipedes are millipedes. While millipedes do closely resemble centipedes, millipedes are herbivores and detritivores, subsisting on dead and decaying plant material, including wood or cellulose material.
Centipedes are venomous. Their venom allows them to attack prey and defend themselves against predators and other natural enemies. Centipede venom is not normally life endangering to humans, although the bite can be painful.
How Did I Get 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, centipede bites are rare, and their venom only causes mild irritation. 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.
How Can I Get Rid of Centipedes?
Centipedes are a diverse group of Arthropods with a range of behavioral characteristics. Therefore, when centipedes become a problem, the first thing to do is contact your local Orkin pest management professional and request an inspection.
Once the inspection is complete, your Orkin technician will prepare a centipede treatment plan designed to control the centipede species causing problems. Centipede treatment usually involves both non-chemical and chemical control methods, but the treatment plan will emphasize finding where centipedes are located and how they are getting inside the home.
Some non-chemical treatments that may be included in the treatment plan include:
- Moisture: Reducing moisture problems by repairing water leaks or using dehumidifiers
- Clutter: Reducing clutter that provides centipedes with protection and a place to hide. Your pest technician will likely point out these places and recommend not allowing stored items to be stacked right up against the wall or rest directly on the floor.
- Other pests: Reducing the number of insects and spiders that provide a food source for centipedes
- Openings: Sealing holes, cracks and gaps that enable outdoor centipedes, insects and spiders to get inside a home
- Vaccuuming: Removing indoor centipedes with a vacuum
Generally, chemical control methods are used for temporary centipede control. If needed, your Orkin technician will use insecticides in cracks, crevices and other centipede harborage areas. If the centipede population is especially heavy outdoors, the plan may include chemical applications to the cracks or gaps in the foundation, in the crawl space or the mulch around the house.