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House Centipede

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House Centipede

Scutigera coleoptrata

Characteristics

Size:
Up to 1½ inches long

Color:
Grayish yellow with dark bands on legs. Body has three dark, longitudinal stripes.

Behavior:
The house centipede may well be one of the scariest household pests by appearance alone. The slender body is adorned on either side by numerous, very long legs, and it moves very quickly which can be disconcerting to many homeowners. This centipede is harmless, however, and is actually a beneficial creature, feeding on spiders and insects found within the home.

Habitats

This centipede occurs throughout the United States and lives outdoors and indoors. The house centipede is found in moist basements, damp closets and in bathrooms. Occasionally, one or more centipedes wander from these dark spaces into the living area of the home where they may be seen.

Tips For Control

House centipedes will be most prevalent in homes with basements or crawl spaces. Taking steps to improve ventilation or to lower humidity and moisture in these spaces is helpful but may not totally eliminate the centipedes. Outdoors, potential harborages such as old boards, boxes, compost piles, wood piles, stones, leaf litter, grass clippings, etc. should be removed. Where numerous centipedes are seen, treatments applied by a pest professional may be recommended, particularly in the crawl space, basement and outdoor areas.

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house centipede
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