Common Pest Species:
House Centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata) of the Order Scutigeromorpha
Active Times: Nighttime (Nocturnal) mostly, with the exception of one species.
Centipedes have light brownish flat segmented bodies ranging in various lengths. They have venom glands (Venomous) they use to inject into a prey via using Venom “Pincer” Claws (aka Forcipules) located on their head. They have one pair of legs per body segment (odd #) giving them many legs (upwards to 364) depending on their length, but never exactly a hundred (Centi). Most orders of the class Chilopoda have reduced or no eyes due a nocturnal terrestrial lifestyle with the exception of one group whose eyes are retained; a defining characteristic for the group.
Centipedes can often be found under leaf litter, mulch, rocks, and other debris on the ground around the home. Centipedes are most often found in the dark damp spaces of garages, basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and floor drains when seen inside the home. Many Centipede species like most insects will evade perceived threats by running away.
The House Centipede for example can cover 15 of it’s body lengths in a second upon hitting the floor and surviving a fall from a great height. This particular species among others from the order Scutigeromorpha lifts its body above the ground with it’s many legs; numbering up to 15 pairs in total (30) of it’s 15 body segments; as it runs. The appearance of the House Centipede is around 3-4 inches due to the nature of it’s legs, but the body is generally around an inch in length. The legs are wiry and long with bands giving it a very spidery appearance, and the movements it makes in the open are often jittery and fast. The House Centipede has retained its compound eyes and is one of the only orders for the class to do so.
Depending on the order and even species; which range in the thousands; Centipede reproduction differs slightly in length of time to adulthood, number of eggs laid, and how long it takes for eggs to hatch. For example a female House Centipede; one of the main Centipede pest species encountered in the home for the South; lays anywhere from 63-151 eggs in soil which is far beyond the average for it’s class of Scutigeromorpha which is 10-50 eggs. The House Centipede can take up to three years to reach adulthood, while others take less than one.
Diet: Insectivorous (Carnivorous); Feeds on other insects indicating a larger pest problem if seen within the home.
*A bite from a house centipede is usually not life threatening and is similar to the red inflammation and pain gained from the sting of a bee.