Pest Profile: House Centipedes
With their seemingly endless supply of legs and their alarming speed, house centipedes can be some of the most terrifying pests to encounter within our homes. Surprisingly, these insects are actually not harmful to humans and can be helpful with controlling other bugs; but nobody wants to let them hang around long enough to reap the benefits. Learn more about these scary creepers and how to get them out of your home.
House Centipedes 101
House centipedes are one to two inch long insects with 15 pairs of legs reaching out of their bodies. These legs can make them appear larger than they are, and they help the centipede to move at very fast speeds. Being able to move quickly helps them to easily catch their prey, which are other household pests like bedbugs, silverfish, spiders, cockroaches, termites, and ants. To kill their prey, these predators grab their target with their legs and mandibles and then inject them with venom produced by modified legs. The venom kills their prey, which they then are able to devour at their leisure.
House centipedes are surprisingly long lived for an insect species. They can survive anywhere from three to seven years depending on their environment. Because they have lived alongside humans for centuries, they are able to live their entire lives indoors, which usually lets them live the full length of seven years.
Why They’re Pests
Like so many insects, house centipedes are pests because they come into our homes uninvited and take up residency there, living out their lives and birthing young. Their long lives allow them the ability to fill a home with more insects than it can manage. The fact that their appearance is so instinctively terrifying doesn’t help either. Many homeowners call the exterminators because they can’t deal with the fright caused by coming across a creepy-crawly in the middle of the night.
Are They Dangerous?
Despite their genuinely alarming appearance, house centipedes are not generally dangerous to humans. Though they are venomous to other insects, their venomous legs are unable to pierce thick human skin. The worst they can do is bite, which leaves a small welt much like a bee sting. Bites are incredibly uncommon, though, so they are not something to worry about. Please remember, however, anyone who has anaphylactic allergies should ALWAYS be concerned about insect bites and/or venom.
More than anything, house centipedes can actually be a help to people. Because they gladly eat other household pests, they are able to both reduce and control a home’s pest population. Of course to actually achieve a true level of control, you’ll need to have countless centipedes feeding on insects in your house so this useful quality is outweighed in most homes.
Extermination and Control
While house centipedes certainly have their uses in pest control, they themselves are still pests, and they should be treated as such. Instead of suffering from nightly terrors caused by these many legged insects, call out a professional extermination team to take care of both your centipedes and the bugs they’ve been feeding on. Your pest control experts may have tips for you so that you can exclude future bugs from making their way into your home and setting up shop, so be sure to ask if they have any thoughts on exclusion. Your home will be pest-free in no time.