Creature Feature

House Centipede

House centipedes are native to the Mediterranean. They are now found throughout the United States, living both indoors and outdoors. Outdoors, they live under mulch, leaf litter, rocks and logs. Cold weather can push them indoors, where they can survive year-round as long as there is access to moisture. They prefer cool, humid and dark places such as bathrooms, basements and crawl spaces. 


House centipedes are nocturnal predators of many different arthropods. They provide the same benefit as spiders by regulating populations of other pests. But they look just as scary or worse than spiders and are probably not appreciated by customers. Because they have front legs modified into what look like fangs to inject venom, there is potential for them to sting people or pets. However, they are not able to penetrate skin easily and, normally, are not defensive unless handled.


Like spiders, house centipedes can be managed by reducing the amount of their prey available. Treat the outdoor perimeter of a structure, including any openings that lead inside the structure. Also pull back mulch and treat the soil underneath. Indoors, treat wall voids with equipment that applies low volume treatments at low pressure. Don’t forget basements or crawl spaces.

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