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Pest ID: Centipede

Common Name:

Scientific Name:
Various, Class Chilopoda

Adults 1/8″ to 6″ (4 – 152 mm) long, elongated, flattened and worm like. Color usually yellowish to dark brown, sometimes with darker stripes or markings. Take a look at the centipede picture on the page. One pair of antennae and 14 – 50 body segments. Most body segments contain one pair of legs. Newly hatched centipedes usually have 4 pairs of legs with additional segments and pairs of legs added with additional molts. All centipedes have poison jaws with which they inject venom to kill their prey. Larger species can break the human skin resulting in a centipede bite which causes pain and swelling, somewhat like a bee sting.

Places Most Commonly Found:
Overwinter outdoors in protected situations and usually lay their eggs in or on the soil during the summer. Centipedes are primarily found in areas of high moisture such as loose bark, in rotting logs, under stones, trash, piles of leaves, grass clippings and mulch. Mostly nocturnal or active at night. Occasionally centipedes are found in the house when they invade structures where they survive on spiders flies, etc. Although they may be found anywhere in the house, the usual places are damp basements, bathrooms, damp closets and potted plants.

Most Active Period:
Most active from late spring to early winter while preying on other insects. Commonly stay active year round in structures where they find warm, moist and protected areas.

Difficulty of Control:
Moderate to control. Harborage must be identified and treated.

Check out the Indian Meal Moth. It’s the next entry into our Common Pest ID Guide.

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