Are Centipedes Dangerous?

July 14, 2017


centipede up close

Centipedes are arthropods with lots of legs, although most do not have 100 legs despite the name "centipede" literally meaning "100-footed". When you think of creepy-crawly bugs, you probably think of pests like the centipede. They're elongated and flat, with segmented bodies and legs coming out of each body segment. Centipedes range in length from 4 to 152 mm. They can be many different colors and patterns but the most common are brown or reddish orange.

These pests prefer damp conditions. Outside, they live in piles of leaves and mulch, or under rocks. If you have them in your house, you are most likely to find them in the basement, kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom. They come inside when it is too hot or dry outside in search of a humid place to nest. They're predators and feed on smaller insects, arthropods, and spiders. When they find something they'd like to eat, they use their poison to subdue their prey until they can kill and enjoy their meal. Seeing one dart across the bathroom floor is a little like starring in your own personal horror movie – but are centipedes dangerous?

Centipedes Are Venomous

The centipede has glands at the base of their fangs that produce venom. When they capture prey, the muscles squeeze the poison gland and eject the venom through a needle-like duct into their prey. It sounds terrifying, but luckily – centipedes have better things to do with their time than go after humans. They don't actively seek out people or pets to bite and generally only do so if they are defending themselves or provoked. Centipedes are more likely to rush into hiding when they feel threatened than to attack.

While the venom is poisonous, it is not usually strong enough to be life threatening to people, although you may experience a bee-like stinging sensation if you are bitten by a centipede. Large species of centipedes can cause more extreme pain. People with allergies and small children should be observed if they are bitten by a centipede and contact medical professionals if there are any side effects beyond an initial sting, including swelling, fever, chills, or weakness.

Centipede Pest Control

Despite their mostly-harmless existence, no one really wants to share their home with the scary looking pest. If you find them in your home, give Adams Exterminating Company a call, we offer pest control solutions for centipedes and other common household pests starting at $30 per month for North Texas residents.

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