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Are House Centipedes Dangerous? Should You Kill Them?

house centipede

If you find a centipede in your home, there is no reason to kill it. Centipedes are not harmful to you or your home. In fact, they actually make your home safer because they are carnivores that will eat other insects that can cause damage to your home.

So, it’s best to leave the centipede alone, even though you may be tempted to squash it on site. The only time you should kill centipedes is if you have a house centipede infestation, but this is rare.

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Centipede Overview

house centipede
Image Credit: Searuss, Shutterstock
Scientific Name Scutigera coleoptrata
Common Name House centipede
Size 1–2 inches
Number of Legs 15 pairs of legs
Color Yellow/gray/brown with dark stripes
Lifespan 3–7 years
Habitat Moist, damp, and dark areas, such as in a bathroom, basement, and piles of wood

Are House Centipedes Harmful?

Centipedes are certainly creepy crawly creatures that can induce a scream or dramatic response. Even so, house centipedes are not harmful. They are not bloodsucking monsters that will feed on you or your family members, and, they don’t feed on wood or fabric like termites and millipedes either.

Centipedes are not even known to transmit diseases to humans or plants or other mammals either. As a result, they aren’t harmful to you, your family members, furry friends, or your home.

Instead, centipedes are relatively harmless creatures. Technically, they can bite humans, though this is rare. These creatures have jaws that inject their prey with venom before consuming them. Centipedes can use this venom on humans, but it is not dangerous to us.

Even so, centipedes are more likely to run away and hide if a human approaches them. If you are handling the centipede, it may bite you to try to escape. The bite will feel like a mild bee sting, but you don’t have to worry about poisoning or toxicity.

house centipede
Image Credit: JY FotoStock, Shutterstock

Should I Kill a Centipede In My House?

In addition to being harmless, centipedes actually keep your home clean. In a way, centipedes are nature’s exterminators. They are carnivores that only feed on other insects. This means that they will eat cockroaches, millipedes, termites, and ants around your home.

Since centipedes protect your home from other harmful insects, it’s perfectly fine to leave the centipede where it is. It won’t harm you, and it will make sure that your home is free from other harmful insects that you certainly want to get rid of.

Does Killing a Centipede Attract More?

If you kill a centipede, it’s imperative to pick up the remains and dispose of the remains correctly. Flushing the centipede down the toilet, for example, is a good way to dispose of the centipede.

The reason for this is that leaving the centipede remains where it is may attract more centipedes. Centipedes are carnivores that will eat the remains of dead centipedes. So, get rid of their remains so that you don’t have to worry about attracting more to your area.

centipede climbing in towel
Image Credit: MR. AEKALAK CHIAMCHAROEN, Shutterstock

Why Are Centipedes In My House?

If you see one or two centipedes in your house, the centipedes likely just got in through some kind of crack or small crevice. Centipedes are naturally drawn to dark, damp environments, such as your bathroom or basement. Additionally, these locations are prone to other kinds of bugs, which allows the centipede to have a food source.

Just because you see one centipede does not mean you’ll see more. House centipedes are primarily solitary. So, you likely do not have more than a few centipedes at a time.

What If I Have a Centipede Problem?

Even though house centipedes are solitary creatures, you can have a centipede infestation. It isn’t a common occurrence, but it is one that needs to be dealt with. Centipede infestations typically happen when there is an insect infestation of another source.

If you have a mite, bed bug, roach, or ant infestation, centipedes will typically follow the food source. As a result, centipedes will follow the food source if there is an abundance of it. The centipede infestation itself is more of a nuisance than a problem, but the other infestation is likely dangerous.

Cockroaches at home
Image Credit: RHJPhtotoandilustration, Shutterstock

When To Call a Professional

If you think you have a centipede infestation, it’s best to contact a pest control specialist. Once again, a centipede infestation is normally a sign of a larger problem. The specialist will be able to determine if you have another infestation and thoroughly eradicate both.

In contrast, there’s no need to call a specialist if you only see one or two centipedes. More than likely, it is the same centipede if you see two, and you are just seeing it in different locations. A single centipede is nothing to worry about. In fact, you can thank this carnivorous predator for keeping your home free from other pests!

pest control
Image Credit: Elnur, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

If you have a house centipede, don’t worry about it. Although they can bite, their bite is harmless and very rare. You don’t have to worry about the house centipede eating away at your home and items either. Instead, the house centipede eats away at bugs you want to get rid of.

So, keep your centipede bodyguard but be on the lookout for others. If you begin to see a lot of centipedes, you likely have an infestation, which is a sign of another insect infestation. Call a specialist if you suspect a centipede infestation is haunting your home.

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