Centipedes
(Chilopoda)

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Did you know that Centipedes are venomous? Although their bite can be painful, it is not usually life threatening.

Appearance
 
  • Centipede means “100 legs,” but Centipedes can actually have 15 to 177 pairs of legs

  • They have elongated, flat, segmented bodies that contain a pair of legs per segment

  • They come in various colors and patterns; brown and reddish orange are the most common

  • Depending on the species, they are 4 – 152 mm in length

  • The most common species in Oklahoma is 2 – 6 inches long

  • The head has a pair of long sensitive antennae

  • They have small mouths with a claw-like structure that contains a venom gland they use to paralyze their meals

Behavior, Diet & Habits

During the winter, adults hide in secluded moist areas. Sometimes they enter buildings and reside in damp areas around bathrooms, basements, and other areas near their food sources.

Most centipedes are carnivorous. They eat worms, spiders, soft bodied insects, arthropods, and other centipedes. They use their long sensitive antennae to locate prey, then inject venom to paralyze it so they can consume it. . A Centipede’s bite can be painful but is not usually life threatening.

It is easy to confuse Centipedes with millipedes, which are herbivores and detritivores. This means they feed on dead or decaying plants including wood and other cellulose materials.

Reproduction

In the Spring or Summer, Centipedes lay their eggs in damp soil. As they mature to adults, they grow additional segments and legs and can live from one to six years.

Signs of an Infestation

The only way to identify a Centipede infestation is to spot one. However, since they are nocturnal, fast moving, and agile, this can be difficult to do.

Treatments

Without the help of an experienced pest control specialist, they can be difficult to control.

House Centipedes

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One commonly spotted Centipede is the House Centipede.

Appearance
 
  • They are 1.5 inches long with 15 pairs of legs

  • They are grayish-yellow with 3 dark stripes extending along the full length of its back

  • They have long legs, that are proportional to their body size, which have alternate light and dark bands

Behavior, Diet & Habits

You can find them indoors and outdoors in moist environments. They feed on small insects, spiders, and larva. Although they can bite, they are considered harmless to people.

Signs of an Infestation

Since House Centipedes prefer moist environments, homeowners usually spot them in a bath tub or sink.