Have you ever come across elongated earthworm-like creatures that seem to walk on tiny, furry legs? If yes, then you have seen a centipede in your house.
Honestly, most people can deal with rodents like rats and mice in their houses. They can even deal with tiny insects like bed bugs or carpet bugs. However, centipedes look disgusting and frighten most people to their cores. So if you find one in your house, you probably want it gone right away. But before that, you should know why you have centipedes in your home.
Centipedes walk creepily on so many legs and have a habit of getting everywhere. You look at walls, and they’re crawling on them. You turn to your floors, and you see them there too. So, let’s tell you why you see all these house centipedes on your property.
What is a centipede?
Centipedes belong to the arthropod group known as Myriapoda. Most people think that these are regular insects, but they are quite different in reality. These creatures have segmented bodies, and each segment of their body has a pair of legs.
The word “centipede” literally means “a hundred legs.” However, in reality, these arthropods don’t have a hundred legs. Instead, most house centipedes can have anything between 15 – 150 pairs of legs, each pair attached to each segment of its body.
Most centipedes are usually an inch or two long, though their legs can make them appear longer. They are also nocturnal creatures, so you may not easily find them unless you are a night owl too.
There are different species of this arthropod, like the feather-tail, aquatic, and the giant red-headed centipede. The centipede we see in our homes is the house centipede.
What does a house centipede look like?
Here are some of the characteristic features these arthropods have.
You can easily spot this creature by its distinctive body. House centipedes have long, earthworm-like bodies. The difference is that the bodies of centipedes have many segments, and each comes with a pair of legs. They can have anything between 15 and 150 pairs of legs, but usually, they have an odd number of pairs.
Most house centipedes are brown or reddish-brown in color. However, they can be of other colors too. For example, some are yellowish and can have stripes on them, which are usually darker than the body’s color.
Usually, they are about 1 or 1 ½ inches long, which is about 25-38 mm. However, the size also depends on the species. Some of them can also be about 152 mm long.
The head of a house centipede is very distinctive. You’ll find a pair of long, hairy antennae on their heads. They also have claw-like structures and a tiny mouth. Centipedes’ claws have venomous glands, which they use on small vertebrates like worms to paralyze them. Some house centipedes have well-developed eyes on each side of their body. On the contrary, some don’t have any at all.
If you’re asking the question, “what does a house centipede look like,” these features should help you identify them quickly when you see one on your property. Are these poisonous? While they do carry venom in their claws to attack their prey, they usually don’t cause any harm to humans. Unless you are handling them very closely, they will also not bite you. And if they do, you will experience pain much like that of a bee sting. However, sensitive people might develop allergic reactions, for which they might have to visit the doctor. But you will not die from a centipede bite.
What causes centipedes in the house?
Are you wondering how to get rid of these? Well, before that, you have to know what causes centipedes in the house. Here are some reasons why you see these in your home.
1. There’s moisture everywhere
Centipedes need damp and humid areas to stay alive and active. If you see too many of them in your house, it means that your home is probably producing lots of moisture. Your basement, kitchen, and bathroom are the areas where you want to look for excess dampness. Make sure to keep your house dry to prevent infestation.
2. Food source
All living creatures need food to survive. One of the things that attract centipedes is the right food. Do you have a garden with flowers in them? These may attract smaller bugs and spiders, which in turn make an excellent diet for them. So, if you see centipedes around your house, you may be having other bug problems too.
3. Temperature variations
What do you do when you feel cold outside? You look for shelter within your home. Centipedes are pretty much the same. When they find the exterior of your house too cold to survive, they can creep inside and hide there to stay warm.
Where do you commonly find centipedes?
Let’s look at the places where you should begin searching for centipedes.
- Your garden is where most tiny bugs come to feed, and centipedes feed on these bugs. So, the first place to start looking for centipedes in your garden.
- House centipedes need moisture to survive. If your bathroom is a damp place, you will find them hiding there in the corners. They can easily climb up through the drain pipes and enter your bathrooms, leading to an infestation in your house.
- Most basements are dark and damp. So, the basement of your house is another place where you can find house centipedes.
- Sometimes you can also find them under your bed in your bedroom. This place usually does not get enough light and is cold enough for centipedes to seek shelter.
House centipedes are not dangerous and do not cause any severe harm to humans. But a large-scale infestation can damage your property. Centipede infestation also often means an infestation of other bugs in your house. In order to keep them away, make sure to follow all the proper precautions by keeping your place clean and dry.