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Have House Centipedes? You May Have Bigger Problems

The prevalent creepy-crawlies typically feast on abundant prey.

If you haven't seen them crawling around your house, consider yourself lucky. But for those that have Scutigera coleoptrata, or house centipedes, inside of their homes, they can be a big (literally)—and creepy—nuisance.

Yes, though their venomous bites can be painful, centipede venom is "not normally life endangering to humans," according to Orkin.com. But, according to Steve Jacobs, an urban entomologist at Penn State University's College of Agricultural Sciences, "If house centipedes are seen frequently, this indicates that some prey arthropod is in abundance, and may signify a greater problem than the presence of the centipedes."

"During the daytime, the centipedes inhabit dark, damp locations in the home and come out at night to forage for prey," Jacobs writes. "House centipedes feed on silverfish, firebrats, carpet beetle larvae, cockroaches, spiders and other small arthropods."

An arthropod itself, the centipede is colloquially referred to as a "hundred-legger." After all, "centipede" translates to "100 legs." However, centipedes may have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs, Orkin.com states. "If caught by a predator, a house centipede will reflexively detach its legs, which it is capable of regenerating at a later time."

Sound fun yet?

Many homeowners turn to centipede pesticides to fight off these invaders, but killing centipedes may lead to an abundance of their prey in your house. And some folks don't want the chemicals inside of their home.

A possible solution to the problem is to reseal your home's doors and windows so that centipedes and their prey stay outside.

Some pest-control services offer what are considered safe chemicals to be sprayed inside of your home to control things like centipedes and spiders. You can even buy some of those chemicals yourself and save on the service charges.

For more tips and options, visit the websites for popular pest-control companies Orkin and Terminix.

Epestsupply.com sells pesticides that you can use on your own, including this one that is designed to kill centipedes and many other pests that fall under the category of house centipede prey.

Happy hunting.

Have tips on how to fight against house centipedes? Please share them in the comments section below.

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Tyrion Lannister April 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Before people freak out about "venomous bites," these things barely have the power to break skin & are far more likely to either freeze when you turn the bathroom light on or just run away. The article is right about one thing: Leave them be and they will eat the bad creepy-crawlies that you don't want hanging around. My cats enjoy chasing them around the floor at night.
jaylew April 19, 2013 at 03:00 PM
I emptied out a coffee cup into my kitchen sink yesterday morning and one of these things was scurrying around trying to crawl up the stainless sides of the sink. Although bugs and spiders and vermin usually don't shake me up too much....I must admit...it appeared to me for a second that this particular intruder was attempting to hop up and out towards me. Realizing that to be impossible....and not one to cause undo suffering to anything alive. The critter was scalded with the pure HOT tap water that is generated by my instant on gas water heater. No poisons were used. No assault weapons were used and the carcass will enter the sewage system and be "recycled" at some point on Beck's Run Road sewage treatment facilities. All in all it was a good morning yesterday. These things run fast people.....they can crawl up your leg before you get a chance to hop out of the way. I am not sure Tyrion I can let these "centipede things run loosely about my house..if one crawled on me I would simply freak out......but I do agree with you in this way..I do let those little hairy black jumping spiders have free reign on my ceilings. They are indeed eating other spiders and I have even seen one dispatch a nasty stink bug.

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