A white centipede

House centipedes: new year, same pests

CentipedeIt’s January—a new year with the same old pests!  And while most insects are deep in their happy winter slumber, house centipedes are awake, and keeping quite busy!  While they cannot survive the winter outdoors, house centipedes will readily live and reproduce in heated structures.  In fact, many house centipedes are generally content to spend their entire life cycle inside houses and buildings, despite the weather.

House centipede facts

  1. House centipedes are only about an inch in length, though their long legs give them the appearance of a much larger size.  These creatures tend to frighten people, especially when they are spotted darting across floors or walls.  But despite being viewed as creepy, house centipedes could be considered beneficial, because their diet consists of small insects and spiders.  Also, house centipedes are not considered aggressive and have weak jaws that are not usually powerful enough to break through human skin.
  2. House centipedes are not insects!  These critters are what we call non-insect arthropods.  Though closely related to insects, house centipedes have some different anatomical characteristics, such as their many pairs of legs and numerous body segments— compared to the insects, which have 6 legs and only 3 body segments. Centipedes have 1 pair of legs per body segment, which are responsible for giving them the nickname “hundred-leggers”.
  3. Centipedes are often confused with another close relative, the millipede.  Millipedes are vegetarians (unlike the predatory centipede) and have two pairs of legs per body segment, and as a result, are otherwise known as “thousand-leggers.”
  4. Inside houses and buildings, house centipedes live in damp, undisturbed places, such as cellars, closets, bathrooms and attics.  Drying and cleaning these areas should help to control infestations, along with a residual treatment by one of our pest control professionals.

Visit our resources on occasional invaders for more details on creepy crawlies like the centipede!

Do you have any centipede stories? Share below in the comments! 

Dr. Nancy Troyano

Nancy Troyano, Training Manager / Entomologist at Rentokil North America, is responsible for leading and supporting the development and training of Rentokil technicians throughout North America. Nancy works closely with Technical Field Trainers and Line-of-Business Managers to develop and implement a comprehensive training program for new and existing technicians. Nancy joined Rentokil after receiving her PhD from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 2009. Follow Nancy on Google+



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