Possibly the creepiest looking crawlers, centipedes are insects with flattened, elongated bodies containing many segments, with most segments bearing single pair of legs, the front pair being modified as poison fangs. Their name, which means, “100 legs” may be misleading. Factually, centipedes have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs. These insects are most commonly brown or reddish-orange in color, and range from 4 to 152 mm, depending on the species. Most people tend to be frightened of the long-legged critters, but are also unaware of how centipedes will react to humans.


While outdoor centipedes can be found in stacks of firewood, under piles of leaves, within rock crevices, or in tree bark, the house centipede tends to be located in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and drains. In the case of a house centipede, their diet may be viewed as beneficial in that, as omnivores, they feed on cockroaches and other pests. However, their presence is only slightly effective and proves to be more of a nuisance than an advantage. Unfortunately, centipedes leave no trail behind to signal an infestation, but are usually spotted running quickly across walls, in a sink or tub, or on the ceiling.


Like all living things, centipedes have a specific preferred environment, and becoming knowledgeable of their inclinations can make it easier to protect against an infestation. Centipedes are more likely to arise in moist places, especially where there are cracks and crevices. It may be helpful to use a dehumidifier if there is any concern of a centipede infestation within the home. It’s also a good idea to keep mulch, rotting wood, leaf litter, etc., at least three feet away from the foundation. If house centipedes become a problem, it’s best to seek the assistance of a pest management professional.

These are a few facts you may find helpful about centipede bites to humans:


Non-life-threatening bite:

Centipede venom is not normally life endangering to humans, although the bite can be painful.


Bite side effects:

Typically, bite victims experience pain, swelling and redness. Symptoms usually last less than 48 hours. Occasionally, symptoms may also include headache, chest pain, heart tremors, nausea, and vomiting.



Centipede bites may become infected if not kept clean and properly treated.


Common victims:

Victims from centipede bites are often gardeners.