Centipedes are very creepy creatures. Their length is in the range of 1 to 8 inches. Centipedes start with a few pairs of legs and they increase with each new segment. Centipedes are found worldwide. They thrive in damp, dark places and climates that are wet but can also be found in arid areas and deserts.
In the United States centipedes inhabit a wide range of habitats including urban areas, deserts and swamplands. Around the home, they can be found in floor drains, crawl spaces and basements.
Outside they will be in potted plants, under rocks, rotten logs and in gardens. They also survive underwater.
How do centipedes bite
Centipedes do not actually bite. They puncture the skin by scratching with their clawed pointy hollow legs located right behind their heads. They use these hollow legs to inject venom.
When centipedes sting and inject venom, they leave two puncture marks in the skin. The area surrounding the bite will become inflamed and red. The bigger the centipede is, the higher the volume of venom injected and the more intense the pain. Smaller centipedes inject very little venom and the pain of the sting can be compared to a bee sting.
Symptoms of centipede bite
Symptoms of a centipede sting are inflammation, pain and redness in the skin around the sting site. The symptoms can last hours to several days.
If you are allergic to centipede venom, you may experience symptoms including, fever, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, chills, itching, heart palpitations and extreme swelling at the sting site. If you experience any or a mix of these severe reactions see a doctor.
Because centipede bites may have similarities to bites from more dangerous insects, if you are unsure what bit you get yourself to a doctor, more so if you are experiencing severe symptoms.
Treatment of centipede sting
In the absence of complications, centipede sting treatment focuses on alleviation of the symptoms and can be done at home by observing the following:
- Apply hot compress on the sting site. This dilutes the venom.
- To reduce the inflammation apply an ice compress to the wound.
- Use medication under the guidance of a pharmacist to reduce allergic reaction, pain and swelling. Apply a topical antibiotic to the wound to avoid infection. Keep the sting site clean and cover it up.
- If your symptoms do not abate in a few days you will need to call the doctor.
Complications as a result of centipede stings are because of skin and tissue damage at the sting site. You will probably be given a tetanus shot and antibiotics by your doctor if infection has occurred.
If red streaks appear near the wound or it is emitting a bad odor inform your doctor quickly.
If you suffer severe allergic reactions such as hives, dizziness, and swelling of the lips, tongue and throat call emergency services immediately.
Centipede stings, although quite painful, hardly ever result in severe health problems in people. At home treatments work quite well at alleviating pain and symptoms.
The scientific name for giant desert centipede is Scolopendra heros. They are also known as the Texas redhead centipede. On average, they are about 6.5 inches in length but some can be up to 9 inches long. Although color variations are common, the head along with the first two body segments have various shades of red while the rest of the segments are black with traces of green. The giant desert centipedes have 20 pairs of yellow legs. They also have a set of black rear legs which they use to grasp, hold prey and inject them with venom. On each side of the head, there have four individual ocelli.
The giant desert centipede typically enjoys staying outside in protected areas mostly on rotten logs or under stones. They are commonly found in rocky woodlands where it’s easy to find moisture to keep their bodies cool. During the high temperatures in summer, these pests escape the intolerable heat and enter homes and buildings. These pests have been located in places like Arkansas, Louisiana, Southern Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Northern Mexico, and Texas.
Are Giant Desert Centipedes Dangerous?
Although the giant desert centipedes have a relatively huge size and frightening look, their nuisance comes from their defense mechanisms. They secrete and inject venom through pincers which are modified legs found on their body. When these pincers inject venom, it causes pain for someone who has been stung. When bitten, some people may experience symptoms like nausea, headache, vomiting or allergic reactions.
Given that these pests spend little time in the open, it is rare to spot them in large numbers. However, you can find a few of them in a garden or a basement, which may signal that more could be present within the area.
The giant desert centipedes preys on small insects and arthropods just like other centipedes.They have an exceptional body that allows them to hunt and feed on larger organisms such as:
- Small snakes
- Toads and frogs
- Other vertebrates
They use their pincers and venom to subdue their prey before consuming them. When placed under captivity, giant desert centipedes can exclusively rely on moths.
They have a lifespan of between one and six years although their longevity depends on several factors.
A giant female desert centipede has the ability to lay about 15 to 60 eggs during summer. These eggs are commonly found between cavities of rotten wood. Mothers have to closely watch their eggs to protect them against predators and the growth of fungus. The eggs hatch after about two months, producing offspring that are similar to smaller versions of their parents.
How to Prevent Giant Desert Centipede
To control or prevent giant desert centipedes, a combination of chemical treatments and exclusion techniques are necessary. Such tactics include:
- Eliminating their habitats in your home by getting rid of firewood, compost piles, and tree logs.
- Substituting moisture-prone mulch for stone or gravel.
- Thoroughly ventilate crawl spaces and other moist areas to diminish humidity
- Seal foundation gaps and cracks
- Fix damaged weather stripping
Giant desert centipedes are not dangerous despite their large size and their scary appearance. Their defense mechanism makes them appear hazardous. Symptoms from their bites are mild and may include nausea, vomiting, headache, and allergic reactions. The pests, which enjoy inhabiting moist places, can be controlled using chemical treatments and exclusion techniques. If you feel overwhelmed with the presence of this creature. Call your local pest controller for effective extermination.
HOW TO GET RID OF HOUSE CENTIPEDES
There are over 2000 centipede species worldwide. The house centipede is greyish – yellow with a slender flatish body. It has fifteen pairs of legs with a pair attached to each segment. Protruding from its rear tip are two long appendages and on its head two rather long antennae.
The two legs near the mouth carry venom. This is what they use to sting prey such as termites and Firebrats. These appendages on both ends confuse and deter predators because they find it difficult knowing which end is the back and which one is the head. The centipedes legs are not only for mobility, they can hold multiple prey using their legs. If any of their legs get stuck or caught on something they just pull them off and scuttle away.
House centipedes multitude of legs are not for show. They are very fast covering 1.3 feet within a second enabling them to overtake and grab their prey easily and on the other hand quickly escape from predators.
House centipedes are ferocious hunters going after prey that could pose a danger to them, sneaking up on them and stinging. Then sitting back and letting the venom work before feeding. They are mostly nocturnal hunters. They use their long extremely sensitive antennae to feel vibration and smell out potential prey. They are sensitive to light so during the day they hide in dark moist areas. In the home you’ll find them in bathrooms and basements.
House centipedes are not dangerous to people. They would rather not waste their venom on humans unless provoked.
During winter they will get into homes looking for warmth and food. Being rather narrow and small the house centipede will get in to the home through cracks in the walls, under doors, through damaged windows, striping and where utility pipes access the wall of the house.
Keeping centipedes out of your home
Set sticky traps placing them in areas that habour centipedes. Such as basements, under the sink and in bathrooms.
Remove all the clutter that can offer centipedes a hiding place.
Use a vacuum cleaner to rip the centipedes from their hiding place.
Dry out wet areas in your house. Without moisture centipedes can’t survive. Clean up damp areas and dehumidify them.
Put boric acid on pieces of paper and place them in high centipede traffic areas.
Spread silica packets in damp places around the home. This absorbs the moisture from both the ground and air.
Put compost bins, firewood and mulch away from the wall of the house and it’s perimeter.
Seal off all entry points including crevices in concrete foundations and gaps around windows and doors.
Seal gaps between walls with caulk.
Lay down a barrier of water resistant insecticide dust all around your house. Centipedes come from outside to enter your home and they will have to cross the insecticide barrier.
Get rid of all the pests that centipedes prey on. Without food they will leave or face starvation.
In as Much as centipedes are harmless to humans you don’t want them crawling all over the house.
Anyone would cringe at the thought of centipedes, let alone have one dart out of a dark corner in the house to your feet. But these multi-legged creatures are as fascinating as studying alien beings from a foreign world. They are part of the invertebrate class and play a crucial role in sustaining the diet of many small vertebrae.
Other species give birth to live ones. The male deposits a spermatophore and leaves it for the female to find or coaxes it to ingest the sperm through courtship. The female lays an average of 10-50 eggs, in a single fashion. A female centipede can produce close to 160 baby centipedes within her life span. Despite their unsettling nature, female centipedes are exceptionally good mothers. They will tend to their eggs and hatchlings, curling around them for protection from potential prey. They’ll also lick the eggs to keep off fungi. Once disturbed or threatened, the female will eat the eggs or abandon them, leaving them vulnerable.
Like their parents, a centipede’s coloration is a warm mixture of brown and red. Those found within caves and subterranean habitats lack pigmentation due to less exposure to sunlight. They cover a large geographical region, from the tropics and arid areas to colder climate, surviving in the harshest conditions. The scientific names are a mouthful, but are gracefully swapped for generic terms. Centipedes are grouped into four major classes extensively studied; House, Stone, Tropical and Soil centipedes.
Centipedes are carnivorous in nature and are among the largest terrestrial invertebrate predators. They have a spread-out diet, as they have a variety of different available prey. House, stone and soil centipedes are smaller in size and will feed on insects, small earthworms, molluscs and annelids. The larger centipedes that dwell in tropical regions and caves feed on equally large prey like bats, birds and mice. Most centipedes have poor eyesight or are literally blind. They detect movement through vibrations. The front pair of legs act as pincer-like limbs called forcipules that inject venom in their prey. Their antennae point backwards. They curl around it as the venom takes effect. This said, not much is known of their feeding habits due to their seclusive lifestyles
Quite contrary to their name, centipedes do not have a complete set of legs totalling to 100. An adult always has an odd number of segments, from 15 to as many as 191 in the larger species. Thus the leg number will always be odd. They take 1-3 years to reach maturity, ranging from a few milimeteres to 14 inches. That’s the size of a 30 cm ruler. They’re excellent house cleaners, avoiding human contact unless by accident, preying on unseen spiders, cockroaches and other house pests.
Surprisingly, people rear centipedes, as pets or delicacies served in restaurants and sold in open air markets in Asian countries. Though not fatal, their bites are usually painful, causing severe swelling, chills, partial paralysis, not to mention the horror of being bitten by an actual centipede. Next time you spot one in the house, don’t grab the nearest shoe. Gently guide it out.
Most insects such as centipedes aren’t necessarily gifted with the cuddly good looks that most humans seem to prefer. So, how to get rid of centipedes?
Many people find them creepy and scary which is perhaps the number one reason for this seeming animosity. Some people just hate bugs because they scare the bejeezus out of them.
Not many people know this but it is actually quite easy to protect your home from any severe bug infestation. Like all things in life, all it takes is knowledge.
Insects choose to live under your roof because they find it necessary for their survival. Understanding this is already a huge step in the quest to rid your home of these often uninvited guests.
As a matter of fact, the key to defeating any bug infestation is to know the enemy (the bugs in this case). Learning why they find the conditions in your home suitable for their way of life is one of the most important steps.
You will need to do your due diligence and perform some research on facts.
For example, many insect or bug species like their air humid and wet because it is their main source of water. This is the reason why you do not see a lot of house pests out in the sun.
They like the areas in your house where they can have this condition and if we’re talking about moisture and humidity then the bathroom and basement cannot be beaten.
Now, do you see why the frightful encounters happen frequently in these parts of the house?
Pest control for homes is actually an industry in itself and you can go for professional services that offer pest control solutions or you could use existing pest control products suitable for DIY applications.
However, whatever you choose, whether you go for professional services or do it by yourself, you will need to do your due diligence first so you can be sure that the option you take is indeed the one most suitable for your situation.
For example, if you are thinking of going for the chemical extermination option that is usually administered professionally, then you will need to evaluate the safety of this method is.
This is especially crucial if you have children and animal pets living with you in the house. DIY methods are good for those who like to take charge and face the problems themselves.
However, you will need to make sure that the methods you use are proven methods as there are a lot of bogus products out there that are akin to patch jobs or band-aids that do not really do anything to address the cause of pest problems.
Whatever method you choose to help you get rid of house insects and pests, just be sure that you do a little research so you can be sure that it’s the most suitable option for you.
Millipedes are worm like looking creatures but are characterized by the many legs they have. It is that feature that has rightly earned the millipede a nick name as the ‘thousand legger’. Millipedes belong to the animal class of Arthropods and grow as long as 2.5 cm to 4cm.
This insect can appear as brown in color while other millipedes may have a jet black color on the top while their legs have a pinkish hue and their under belly is white.
Millipedes prefer moist and cool environments with least disturbance. Some of their favorite habitats will often include, under rocks, rotting wood, foundations, compost heap, mulch, flower beds and in piles of leaves on the ground.
Millipedes will often be forced to look for shelter inside your home when the conditions outside become untenable. When it rains too much and the grounds outside are soaked. Millipedes have no option but to seek shelter in a house with more favorable conditions. During hot weather, this arthropod will seek cooler shelter and water. You house is often a perfect option as they can easily crawl under the door or get through an open window. Cracks and crevices on the floor and wall that lead into the house are often good ways for the millipede to gain access to your home.
Whenever you see a millipede in the home, it is often in the bathroom, laundry area or crawl spaces. Once a millipede finds access into your home, it will try and locate it’s comfort spots which is any damp or moist spaces as mentioned above.
An effective way to get rid of the millipede once it enters your home is to simply kill it by stomping on it with a shoe or vacuuming it.
Although the creature is not harmful in any way, some people just find it creepy and would not want to see it crawling around in the house.
Preventative measures against millipedes
Taking measures to prevent millipedes from infesting your yard and sealing all possible entry points is a good place to start.
- Some areas of the home are more prone to cracks and can be an entry point for bugs. Sealing all cracks around the foundation, plumbing and wiring will ensure that creepy crawlies such as millipedes and other bugs do not gain entry to your home.
- Leaky faucets, water pipes, and air conditioning units should be repaired as they can become an attraction for bugs such as millipedes
- Sealing any expansion joints where patios, sunrooms, and sidewalks are next to your foundation is called for. That is because they discourage millipedes as well as other bugs from making their way into your house.
- Maintain a clean and uncluttered yard by removing dead plant matter and piles of leaves as well as mulch.
- Watering the lawn should not be overdone. It is also better to water in the morning as opposed to night so that the grass has time to sun dry before nightfall. Ensuring that your sprinklers are well adjusted such as to minimize pooling will also help in keeping your lawn dry and minimizing millipedes.
Such preventative measures as mentioned above, help in not making the environment suitable for a millipede infestation. However, should you feel that your home is getting overrun by millipedes, get in touch with a licensed pest controller for help in getting rid of them from your compound.
The household centipede is an arthropod (family of insects that have jointed bodies) that is said to have originated from the Mediterranean region and just somehow found its way into other parts of the world. They are common in the northern part of the US, in Asia and Europe and have made quite a reputation in multitudes of homes.
Generally, centipedes do not pose any harm or threat to humans. They are equipped with mandibles that could theoretically bite humans, but it is considered not strong enough to do any significant damage.
They do have stings which are the main weapon that they use on their prey. They are insectivores that eat fellow insects so it’s no wonder that some folks would find them favorable and would think that their presence in homes should be a welcome sign.
However, if you think about it, the fact that they are hanging out inside your home indicates that you have bigger problems aside from a house centipede infestation.
The fact that they are inside your home means they are finding their main diet in it and that you have other bug issues to deal with if you want to get rid of house centipedes.
The good news is that house pests can actually be driven away from your home systematically.
No, it will not purely involve spraying insecticides and pesticides (which are actually quite ineffective if you want a long-term solution) but will involve a step-by-step process that will attack the different aspects of why and how they find your home a suitable habitat for their survival.
Things like what kind of sustenance they find in your home and how you can change the conditions in your home such that they will find it difficult to access those food sources.
When you have dealt with their food sources, the next thing you need to do is stop more bugs from getting into your home. That will mean examining your house’s entire exterior and plugging holes and gaps that outdoor bugs can use to gain entry into your home.
Then you will need to eradicate the ones that are inside your house which means applying a chemical but will not focus on bug sprays.
Getting rid of house centipedes is a multi-faceted process that deals with the different factors of why they are inside your house in the first place. The tips mentioned beforehand should point you in the right direction.
Having insects and pests, especially centipede inside your house is something that we all have to deal with sooner or later.
Us, as homeowners, have this primordial fear of anything that crawls on the walls or on the ground.
Let’s face it, they aren’t exactly creatures that are utterly friendly and pleasant. With them around the house, frightful encounters are sure to happen on a regular basis, which is why we need pest control.
The battle between the multi segmented and multi legs is always fought by the centipedes and millipedes. There is always debate surrounding the two creatures and their abilities and of course, who is the king of the multi legs battle. When looking at this battle you must realize you are pitting two different types of anthropods against each other. The centipede is a chilopoda while the millipede is a diplopoda.
The centipede is a predatory anthropod which has one pair of legs for each of its body’s segments. Centipedes are harmless to human beings to a degree because they don’t carry any diseases and neither do they form nests or webs that are a nuisance to clean up every so often. On the other hand centipedes are poisonous and their venom can cause an allergic reaction which in some people can lead to an anaphylactic shock.
Having said that the centipede is not going to attack you in your sleep or anything nefarious like that. They will only bite when trapped against your skin and as a way out of the situation. Most people believe that because a centipede has the prefix centi- before the pede it must have 100 legs but that it’s not true. A typical centipede can have anything between 30 and 354 legs. But here is an even more interesting fact: centipedes don’t have an even number of legs.
Centipedes can grow up to 12 inches and they all have antennae. They have large jaws with claws at the front of their head and they are also carnivorous.
Millipedes have two pairs of legs for everybody segment and two segments are typically fused together for the two pairs of legs. Remember the centipede has one pair for each segment. Because millipedes are not carnivorous and they won’t even bite you when they are crushed against your skin. However, don’t pick them up because they emit a stinky substance when attacked which can cause an allergic reaction.
The centipede is going to sting in defense but the millipede will only curl up into a tight ball. The prefix milli- in front of the pedes gives people the impression that millipede has thousands of legs but that’s not the case. Even the most leggy (pun intended) millipede that was ever examined has only had 750 legs. The millipede can grow up to 15 inches in length and this is typically the African giant centipede. Some of the species of millipede will omit a scent like almonds which is meant to attract its attacker. Millipedes love a cool moist place which is why you will find some in the house.
The centipede and millipede may look similar from afar but upon closer inspection they are very different. Keep these differences in mind the next time you encounter either one.
How many legs do centipedes have?
The centipedeis an anthropod in the same classification with the millipede but it is the predatory cousin of the millipede. It is in chilopoda class and the subphylum Myriapoda. The word centi has been confusing to most people when it comes to the number of legs this anthropod has. Most believe that it has one hundred legs because of this. However, this is not the case.
The number of legs on centipede
The number of legs on a centipede is determined by the number of segments on its body. The longer the centipede, the more the number of legs. Typical centipedes can have 15 to 177 pairs of legs on their body but you can expect even more legs on species like the Peruvian giant yellow leg centipede. Known scientifically as the scolopendraGigantea this species can reach 12 inches in length and will feed on rodents, lizards, birds and even catch bats midflight to feed on them.
Centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment which is unlike the millipedes that have more than one pair of legs per segment. The scolopendromorphs which are a species of centipedes typically have between 21 and 23 pairs of legs. If you come across the scutigeromorpha species you will notice that they have 15 pairs of legs as do the Lithobiomorpha. The Geophilomorphs have the most number of legs featuring 177 legs.
Mostly we encounter the house centipede which is characterized by a rounded trunk. For every centipede species there is a pair of legs just after the head that act as fangs. They carry the venom that the centipede uses to paralyze its prey before eating it. One would think that with so many legs the centipede is the master of balance. But there is a method to the leggy madness. The further away from the head the legs are the longer they become to give the body balance.
Centipedes like other anthropods like spiders can drop their limbs when they need to and regenerate them at a later point. Upon hatching the house centipede comes with four pairs of legs and with each molt the centipede gets more legs.
The centipede uses its legs to sense any danger and movement around it. They act as additional antennae and they also help it get away faster. The last legs on the centipede have sensory bristles. You will notice that centipedes do not have an even number of legs. They only have an odd number of legs.
Myriapods belong to the anthropod family. Anthropods are characterized by a segmented body, a chitinous exoskeleton and joint appendages. Apart from having combined segments to their bodies myriapods have very highly developed sense organs. Their limbs are joined together almost creating a suit of armor that prevents predators from reaching the insides of the millipede or centipede.
They also have a ventral nervous system meaning that their nervous system is placed at the front of the body near the stomach and not near the spine of the creature. The term myriapod refers to many legs which describes the centipede and the millipede.
Frequently asked questions about millipedes and centipedes
What is the difference between a millipede and a centipede?
First a millipede belongs to the myriapod class of Diplopoda while a centipede belongs to the class Chilopoda. The second difference is that the former is not poisonous while the latter is poisonous. Millipedes also have two pairs of legs per body segment while the centipede has one pair of legs per body segment.
While the centipede has longer antennae at the top of its head the millipede has a shorter one. Plus the centipede can bite while the millipede can’t. the centipede tend to extend their legs away from their bodies as they move while the millipedes tuck their legs under their bodies as they move around.
What is common between a millipede and a centipede?
The first and most obvious similarity is that they both have segmented bodies and they have many legs to move around. They both feature holes which they use as respiratory organs. These holes are known as spiracles. They use the antennae for smelling and finding food.
Both the centipedes and millipedes lay their eggs in the soil and they reproduce sexually. This means that they have to mate with a partner in order to be fertilized and lay their eggs. Most species of millipedes and centipedes have the same color which is why they are often confused for each other. And of course they are both elongated creatures.
Both produce substances that can cause burns and allergic reactions in people. Finally centipedes tend to move faster than millipedes because of how their legs are placed.
How do centipedes and millipedes defend themselves?
Centipedes have claws at the top of their heads that they use to bite. The claws have venom which the centipede imparts onto its prey to kill it. Millipedes on the other hand do not have biting mouthparts. As such, their defense mechanism is to either curl up into a tight ball or emit a stinky substance to ward of their predator.