Centipedes have a long, flat, segmented body and range in color from yellow-gray to dark brown. They have one pair of legs per body segment and can have anywhere from 15 to 177 legs, always having an odd number of leg pairs. Centipedes have a pair of elongated mandibles and two pairs of maxillae. The first couple pair of limbs end in sharp claws and contain venom glands that help the centipede capture and paralyze prey.
Biology and Behavior
- Depending on the specific species, centipedes can live from 1 to 6 years. During the winter months, they overwinter outdoors in logs, under rocks, under mulch, and under piles of leaves, but they will choose to live inside homes if given the opportunity.
- You can find centipedes living outside in dark, damp areas like under rocks, mulch, piles of organic debris, and landscaping ties. They emerge at night to hunt their prey.
- If it becomes too hot or dry outside, they move inside. Centipedes get inside homes and other buildings through cracks in the foundation, gaps found under doors, and through the spaces found around utility entrances.
- Centipedes can be found inside homes hiding in damp areas like basements, bathrooms, underneath sinks, and laundry rooms.
- Centipedes are a venomous species and can bite through a person's skin and inject venom.
- A centipede bite is similar in pain level to a bee sting. In most cases, the venom is not strong enough to cause any real issues for a human.
Centipede Prevention Tips
- Seal cracks in your home's foundation, caulk gaps found around windows and doors, and seal openings around pipes or other utilities that are entering your home.
- Place door sweeps on all exterior doors.
- Make sure to keep gutters in working order so that moisture does not build up around your home. Moisture attracts centipedes.
- Place dehumidifiers in basements, crawl spaces, and other damp areas of your home to reduce moisture levels.
- Remove piles of leaves, sticks, and other debris from your yard and try to keep a barrier between your home's foundation and organic material like mulch and grass.
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