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Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Class Chilopoda

Centipedes have anywhere from 15-177 pairs of legs and have an odd number of pairs of legs.

Where do they live?

Indoors,  centipedes inhabit dark, damp locations during the daytime. These include damp areas, crawlspaces, closets, bathrooms, potted plants or anywhere in the home where insects occur. Outdoors, they may be found in damp, dark places such as under stones, leaf mulch, or woodpiles. Centipedes come out at night to forage for prey. House centipedes feed on silverfish, firebrats, carpet beetle larvae, cockroaches, spiders and other small arthropods.

How do they live?

Eggs are usually placed in damp soil. Some centipede species add segments and legs as they grow; others are born with a complete set. Centipedes require 2 to 3 years to mature and have been known to live for 6 years. Females can live for several years and may produce up to 150 eggs in their lifetime.  

The adult is about 38 mm in length.

How do they affect us?

House centipedes can be beneficial as they capture flies, cockroaches, and other small household pests. They never damage plants or household items. When provoked, a few large kinds of centipedes can inflict a painful bite that may cause localized swelling, discoloration, and numbness. This sting is rarely fatal.

Centipedes are generally considered nuisance pests, as they do not pose significant health or property threats.


The most effective way to get rid of or prevent house centipede infestations is to reduce areas of moisture in and around your home such as leaf piles and grass clippings. It is also necessary to provide adequate ventilation in crawl spaces, etc. All unnecessary boxes, bags, and other clutter that can give centipedes favorable places to hide should be removed.

Cracks and other openings in exterior foundation walls and around doors and ground-level windows should be sealed. Any centipedes that are observed should be removed. Sticky traps may also be put out on floors where centipedes are often seen. These traps may also help a person to find other pests in the home which may be serving as a food source for the centipedes.