House Centipede Facts, Bite, Behavior

You’ve probably stumbled upon a long, flat, wormlike critter with a ton of legs scurry across the bathroom floor at one point or another. This pest is known as the house centipede and it belongs to a diverse group of arthropods found in North America. They are often referred to as “hundred-leggers”, and they look much scarier than they actually are. 

At Pegasus Pest Control, we think it’s important to let our customers know all about this pest in particular, so they can have their minds at ease if they find it in their home.

House Centipede Facts, Bite, BehaviorHouse Centipede Facts, Bite, Behavior

Understanding The House Centipede

The house centipede is Scutigera coleoptrata and is only dangerous if you happen to be another insect such as a bed bug, cockroach, spider, or a termite. What you have there is a tiny exterminator that can help get rid of other pests.

House centipedes may look scary, but the facts about them and their behavior are not. If you think you have too many house centipedes in your property, don’t hesitate and call a professional pest control service to help you get rid of them.

Legs, Legs, and More Legs

The first thing you may notice about this insect is its legs. The very name “centipede”, means a hundred feet. It may look like it has a hundred legs, but in reality, it has 15 pairs of legs. It also has a pair of very long antenna on its head. Most of these creatures are yellowish-gray and have stripes down their bodies and across their legs.

There are a couple of reasons why they have so many legs. First, it helps them be very fast. They are both predators and prey, so their 1.3 feet-per-second speed is very helpful. Second, you can never tell which end of the centipede is the front or the back, which can actually deter predators.

Different Types of Legs

The pair of legs located right near the head and the mouth of the house centipede have been modified to carry venom. This means, technically, that they can sting their prey rather than bite. The poison is very potent for smaller insects such as termites. They are also capable of holding multiple victims in their legs. And, if any of their legs get caught, they can break them off and scurry away.

House centipedes are active hunters, they don’t build webs or traps, instead, they use their legs to jump on their prey or wrap them in. 


Centipedes are night owls. Some centipede species invade homes, but humans rarely see them during the day. They typically hide in damp areas around the house, such as bathrooms, basements, and closets. At night is when centipedes are most active, as they forage for food. 

Centipedes are carnivorous. They feed on many types of small household pests, including spiders, flies, cockroaches, etc. They all have poor eyesight, so they detect their prey through their antennae. Actually, some of them don’t even have eyes.

The common house centipede can live for more than a year, in fact, their lifespan is considered long among anthropods.

Why Are House Centipedes In My House?

House centipedes prefer warm, tropical, humid climates. Their eyes are very sensitive to light, so they will most likely find a place to hide during the day. For homeowners, it is more likely to see them in their basements, bathrooms and other areas that get wet and humid. 

It is also highly possible for the average centipede to live its entire life on the bottom floor of a building, eating insects and living life at its fullest without being disturbed.

Are House Centipedes Dangerous To People?

They are not. The only way a house centipede can be dangerous to people is by handling one, then they might bite a person. They would much rather reserve their venom for food and humans are not quite their taste.

If someone is bitten, it will most likely only cause a reddish bump. Most people, if not allergic to stings, should feel no effects at all. If allergic, they may need to see a doctor and make sure they don’t have an allergic reaction.

Signs of House Centipede Infestation

Centipedes typically leave no direct evidence other than being spotted in a sink or tub and being seen quickly running across floors or climbing on walls and ceilings.


House Centipede Exterminators Near You

Of course, house centipedes can become a nuisance, too, like many pests. If you live in cities such as Sacramento and are noticing a lot of them in your home, then you may also have an underlying problem with other pest insects. There’s a reason they want to be in your home and it’s probably to feed! If this is the case, contact Pegasus Pest Control for professional help.