Centipedes are “creepy-crawlies” that often times scare people because of what seems like their hundred legs. They’re considered a nuisance pest by most people and are widely distributed all over the world including the United States. They don’t particularly bite to hunt people, however, they can inflict a painful bite that’s not normally lethal, however, it does have a stinging effect.
Centipedes are long and have many segments to the body. The key to identifying a centipede from a millipede is that they have flattened bodies and one on pair of legs per segment on the body. Their legs can easily be as long as the width of their bodies and sometimes even longer. The first two legs will be behind the head that modify into claw-like jaws and the last two will stick out behind their bodies and often times, their last two legs will look different in form. Centipedes are typically yellowish – tan in color, some species will be reddish-brown in color, and some even with striped patterns along the back and on the legs. Centipedes will have round and flattened heads that have a pair of antennae and are wingless bugs. They possess compound eyes and some species lack eyes altogether. Centipedes are only capable of differentiating between light and dark and do not have true vision. They sense vibrations through their antennae, which are also used to sense their prey.
Most adult centipedes overwinter. Typically, in temperate climates, centipedes will lay their eggs in the spring or summer, however, in more tropical areas, there is no noted seasonality as to when centipedes breed. Centipedes are normally born with four pairs of legs and as they molt, they will grow new sets of legs. The common centipede is known to live up to a year and other species up to 5-6 years.
Centipedes are attracted to cool, damp locations, rarely nesting indoors and often times found outdoors under rocks, compiles of leafs, mulch areas, under rotting logs, under chipped bark, in the crawl space areas of the home, etc. Inside the home, they will be found in the basement, in attics, bathrooms, or damp closets. Centipedes are typically found outdoors are considered occasional invaders, however, if conditions are favorable, they may spend an entire lifetime indoors in areas like moist or humid basements and etc.
Feeding Habits and Damage
Centipedes feed on other small insects and arthropods such as cockroaches, spiders, silverfish, house flies and etc. They have poison jaws that inject venom to kill their prey.
Most species of centipedes cannot bite through people’s skin, however, some of the larger species can break through the skin. This may cause pain and swelling and may be dangerous for younger children. Larger species inflict a very painful bite, however, most would compare the bite of a centipede to a bee’s sting. Fortunately, they do not damage furnishing or food.
If you want to get more information, please click the link below.