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Centipede Control, Information, and Prevention in NY, NJ, and CT



New York Centipede Identification 

Scientific Order: Scutigeromorpha

Scientific name: Scutigera coleoptrata

Appearance

  • Size: Up to 1 ½ inches long, flat, thin, with 15 pairs of long and slender legs. The centipede’s antennae and legs give the pest the appearance of being up to 3 or 4 inches long. Adult females’ final pair of legs are up to twice as long as the centipede’s body.Regular centipedes aren't normally found inside
  • Color: Brown, grey, or dark “dirty” yellow, semi-translucent looking. The centipede’s back bears three dark longitudinal stripes. Its legs are clearly banded light white or yellow and dark brown or black. 
  • Species: The house centipede (pictured above) has longer, bushier looking legs than the regular centipede (pictured right). The narrower, regular centipede is found outside in gardens and along foundations but rarely inside your home or business.

Diet and Behavior

House centipedes are opportunistic predators, hunting and feeding on a wide of variety of insects including spiders, smaller arthropods like silverfish, sowbugs, millipedes, roaches, fly larvae, beetles, and more. House centipede diet depends on what kind of prey they encounter. 

Centipedes are nocturnal predators that wait until late at night to forage for prey. If they live in an environment that is always dark, like a basement, attic, or crawl space, however, they may hunt during any time of day.  

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Unlike most centipedes, house centipedes reproduce indoors. They prefer to lay eggs in particularly humid environments. Reproduction occurs in early-to-mid spring. Males spin a silk pad containing their sperm. Female centipedes use this silk pad to fertilize eggs.

Fertilized eggs take around two weeks to hatch. House centipede larva resemble their mature counterparts, except they are smaller and have 4 pairs of legs instead of 15. House centipedes take up to two years to reach reproductive maturity. 

Other Characteristics

Despite possessing compound eyes and more detailed vision that most centipedes, the house centipede relies primarily on its long antennae to give it the situational awareness it needs to hunt.

House centipedes have clearly segmented bodies. Each of the centipede’s distinct body segments bears a single pair of legs. Fully-grown house centipedes possess 15 pairs of legs.

House centipedes’ two front legs are actually fang-like piercing implements, which they use to paralyze their prey while hunting. Centipedes rarely “sting” humans with these leg-implements. At worst, a house centipede sting is comparable to a bee sting in terms of pain.

Signs of a Centipede Infestation

The easiest way to tell you have a centipede infestation is to find them beneath an object they were using as shelter.  House centipedes hide in dark and humid locations during the day and come out at night. When deprived of their cover, house centipedes will run toward the nearest dark cover.  

House centipedes frequently infest areas where they can access moisture because they will die in dry places. They’re commonly encountered in bathrooms and boiler rooms, especially at night. Finding a house centipede may also be a sign that there’s a nearby plumbing leak.

Centipede Control and Prevention Tips in NY, NJ, and CT

House centipedes feed on other pests, so keeping them from infesting your building means treating for other pests. Look for places where spiders, beetles, roaches, or other small centipede prey could get into your building and cut off their access points.

House centipedes require a lot of moisture and humidity to survive. In fact, usually living in buildings for extended periods should dry out and kills centipedes.

  • Look for plumbing leaks
  • Patch up drafts Install proper ventilation and drainage
  • Invest in a dehumidifier.

When all else fails, contact Assured for reliable centipede control in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. 

Centipede FAQ

Do centipedes have 100 legs?

No. House centipedes can grow up to 30 (15 pairs) of legs depending on the number of body segments. Other species of centipedes can grow up to 177 pairs of legs-one per body segment. You’ll never see a centipede with 100 legs because they always have an odd number of pairs.

What do centipedes eat?

Centipedes are predacious and hunt insects, spiders and other arthropods. A key to reducing your centipede population is reducing their prey. A good pest control expert can help with both.

Are centipedes poisonous?

Yes. They carry a small amount of venom in their front fangs which they use to subdue their prey.

Do centipedes bite?

They can. Centipedes are normally very shy. If you’ve ever picked up a rock or box with a centipede underneath, you’ve probably seen it scurry away. Centipedes only bite when they are picked up and feel threatened, otherwise they won’t attack you.

Are house centipedes dangerous?

Centipedes are mostly a nuisance pest. A house centipede bite is similar to a bee sting – it may hurt a little but shouldn’t cause severe damage. While house centipedes do bite humans, you shouldn’t be worried. And they won’t eat your plants.

Why do I have centipedes in my house?

Centipedes seek two things: food and moisture. If you have a nice damp basement or garage with a lot of spiders or other prey, chances are, centipedes will move in too. Eliminate other pests along with leaks and humidity and household centipedes won’t hang around for long. Centipede traps and other pest control products may help. Your Assured Environments technician can recommend the fastest course of action.

More Information

  • Cornell University Dept. of Entomology Insect Diagnostic Laboratory “Millipedes, Sowbugs and Pillbugs, and Centipedes” fact sheet
  • Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Department of Entomology “House Centipedes” fact sheet
  • Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Program “IPM Steps to Reduce House Centipedes” page

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