If a centipede zips across the floor of your home, you're going to have questions - lots of questions. We understand. These are disgusting bugs, and their unsightly appearance results in many misconceptions about these particularly passive pests.
Hopefully, the following five facts will help dispel any myths about these multi-legged creatures. After reading, you’re unlikely to reach a place of complete acceptance, but perhaps you will be less likely to jump out of your skin every time you see one of these bugs crawling across your living room floor.
Fact 1: Not All Centipedes Are Created Equal
If you're wondering, "Are centipedes dangerous?" the answer is probably no. In Texas, we have more than one species of centipede. The centipede that generally gets into homes and makes itself a nuisance is Scutigera coleoptrata, also known as the house centipede. The house centipede is creepy looking and disturbing, but that is where the threat ends. Though this species of centipede has poison in its jaws, it isn't strong enough to bite through the skin of a human. There is, however, a centipede in Texas that can bite through the skin. It is Scolopendra heros--the Texas redheaded centipede. Fortunately, the Texas redheaded centipede is not a common household pest. You're most likely to find one of these centipedes crawling around in your yard.
Fact 2: Centipedes Can Be Beneficial
Don't be so quick to step on on these ugly, multi-legged intruders. While we definitely wouldn't suggest introducing centipedes into your home for pest control, they can be slightly beneficial when they come into your home by accident. Centipedes may not be able to bite you, but they're more than able to bite insects and spiders that are living in your home. As a result of their affinity for household pests, a centipede infestation in your home is likely an indication of a larger pest problem which begs the question:
What do centipedes eat? These creatures feed on common pests such as bed bugs, ants, and termites. In spite of their place on the food chain, these centipedes don't take their job as exterminators seriously. They won't make sure all those carpenter ants and spiders are gone like a trained pest control technician will.
Fact 3: Centi Means One Hundred and Pede Means Feet
First of all, centipedes don't have feet, despite what the animated movies would have you believe. Second, they don't have a hundred legs. A typical adult centipede will have 15 pairs of legs, the back two legs being nearly twice the length of the others, which makes it look as though they have antennae on both ends.
Fact 4: Centipedes Are Not Insects
For most people, there are two kinds of bugs: arachnids and insects. But centipedes are neither. While there are many distinguishing characteristics for arachnids and insects, we'll stick to the one that is the most obvious. Arachnids have 8 legs and insects have 6. Obviously, the centipede doesn't fall into either of these two groups. So, what is a centipede? Do you know? While spiders and centipedes are both in the phylum arthropoda, centipedes are not arachnids; they are chilopods with fifteen pairs of legs and a long body which allows them to move quickly across surfaces.
Fact 5: Centipedes Are Moisture Pests
If you have moisture issues on the inside or outside of your home, those issues are likely why you have centipedes in your home. Correcting a centipede infestation often requires professional pest control coupled with repairs to structural damage in and around your home.
We hope you find these facts helpful. If you detect a centipede infestation in your home, you don't have too much to worry about as far as bites, but it could be a warning sign that you have wood rot or other pests plaguing your property. If you see centipedes, hire a professional conduct an inspection and assess the issue. Wood rot or a larger pest problem can be quite expensive if it goes unaddressed.
Tackling a centipede infestation is a task best left to pest control professionals. Like many other pests, these bugs are attracted to moisture and live in cracks and crevices in and around your house that are difficult to locate, and the use of insecticides can be toxic to a family when improperly applied.
If you live in North Texas, find out if you're in our service area. The team here at Adams Exterminating Company uses advanced methods and products to control all of the household pests, including a centipede infestation, invading your Texas homes. For more information about our residential pest control options or to request a free home estimate, reach out to us today.
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