The house centipede is a common pest in many parts of the United
States. Unlike most other centipedes, this species generally lives
its entire life inside a building.
||Grayish yellow with 3 dark stripes
||Long thin body with very long legs
||1 – 1 ½ inches
Centipedes develop by gradual metamorphosis, so immature have a
similar appearance to adults but are smaller. All life stages can
be observed running rapidly across floors or accidentally trapped
in bathtubs, sinks, and lavatories. The house centipede forages at
night for small insects and their larvae, and for spiders.
In homes, the house centipede prefers to live in damp areas, such
as cellars, closets, bathrooms, attics (during warmer months), and
unexcavated areas under the house. Eggs are laid in these same damp
places, as well as behind baseboards or beneath bark on firewood.
Although this centipede can bite, its jaws are quite weak. There
usually is not more than a slight swelling if a bite occurs. From
an entomological point of view, they could be considered
beneficial. Most homeowners, however, usually take a different
point of view and insist that they be eliminated.
Using dehumidifiers in basements and other damp areas to keep the
moisture content of the air down below 55% relative humidity will
aid in controlling this pest. Also eliminating spiders and other
small pests through vacuuming will help aid with control.