Do House Centipedes Bite? Yes They Can! And Here's All You Need To Know

Shirin Biswas
Mar 16, 2023 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Nov 11, 2021
Fact-checked by Niyati Parab
Giant centipede in the house.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

Centipedes, with their many legs, can be quite scary insects!

In spite of the fact that centipedes can kill pests and relieve you of some anxiety, spotting a centipede as you walk around the house can be quite scary. Since most human beings hardly have any knowledge of house centipede venom, they tend to get baffled and scared when such prey-seeking creatures show up in their households.

One of the most pertinent reasons why centipedes may have been making their way into your house is that there are some pests in the house which you haven't taken care of in a while. While it is unlikely that this creature would have any interest in you and your life, centipede bites can be quite intimidating.

Keep reading for some house centipede facts and ways to make sure that there are no bed bugs or other pests that may be inviting such multiple-legged creatures into your sweet home!

Why Do House Centipedes Bite People?

It is highly unlikely that anyone would like house centipedes to be crawling around their house, with their many legs and weird-looking mouths. While the dark stripes and many legs that these insects have can hardly paint a pretty picture or help in garnering a nice reputation, centipedes are not always vicious.

It cannot be denied that centipedes do bite when agitated or in danger; however, in most cases, people do not even feel any pain from being bitten by a house centipede.

While it is rare for a centipede bite to be fatal, there are occasional cases that emerge stating that a centipede bite sparked a major allergic reaction in a human being. Understandably, most experts suggest that human beings stay away from such creatures and rid their houses of any infestation when the early signs are spotted.

House centipedes, like many other insects in the world, enter human houses in search of food and warm shelter. Centipedes enjoy living in moist, warm, and dark areas, and hence, it is mostly during the winter season that people find these insects crawling around their houses.

While house centipedes will not bite humans to feed, centipedes may use their poison claws if they suspect humans of being a threat.

Hence, a centipede bite is mostly intended to ensure the insect's own safety and only for self-preservation.

If you do not harm the insect and stay out of its way, no house centipede will bite you. If you intend on killing a centipede that you see in the bathroom in the middle of the night and aren't careful enough, a few bites may be in store for you!

What Happens If House Centipedes Bite You?

If a house centipede bites you, most people assume that they should be expecting severe pain and redness in the bite area.

While this may be true in the case of certain centipede species, such as the giant centipede or tiger centipede, or if you have an allergic reaction to the venom, in most cases, the bite of a house centipede cannot even be felt.

This is because of two reasons. First, centipedes are not poisonous; they are merely venomous.

The power and potency of a centipede's venom are completely dependent on its species and the force with which it is able to inject venom. Centipede species, such as the giant centipede, often leave a painful bite because their venom is more potent, and their pincers are sharper.

At the same time, it must be kept in mind that house centipedes do not have claws that are capable of piercing through human skin.

Even in the rare cases that this insect bites with enough force to pierce through the skin, the venom only feels like a pinch. Researchers do not consider centipedes poisonous since there is little to no registered evidence that would show that the bite of these insects can be fatal.

House centipedes typically stay away from humans, and hence, if you do not have a severe allergic reaction from being bitten by a centipede, the chances are that there will be no damage at all.

House centipede on a wall.

Will House Centipedes Crawl In Your Bed?

Both larger and smaller centipedes have the tendency to seek out warm, moist, and dark places. During the colder months of the year, centipedes are easily spotted inside the houses of unwilling hosts since human beings' houses are kept warm and cozy.

The habitat choices of these centipedes also ensure that they stay in bathrooms and other humid areas of the house whenever they do come inside a human's house.

However, since a centipede also needs to eat and has to catch prey to be able to sustain its own life, it is also likely to choose a place of living where there is both food and favorable living conditions.

Hence, a centipede may decide to try to find prey on your bed once everyone is off to sleep and the room is dark.

Beds often have small insects and bed bugs, which are easy for centipedes to consume.

Such prey is the only motivation that a centipede can have when venturing into a human being's bed. Understandably, such a situation cannot be comfortable for humans.

Even a centipede would hardly imagine that crawling into a bed can launch a vicious attack and attract a few scared screams from human beings.

On the rare unfortunate occasion that a centipede does find its way to your bed, understand that it is only looking for a pest to catch as prey for dinner.

Understandably, it is an annoying situation, and hence, the best way to ensure that no centipedes come crawling up to you at night is to rid your bed of any pest activity. Centipedes are undeniably effective pest control but it would still be best to stick to the traditional methods such as calling a professional.

Once your bed stops seeming like a hub for bed bugs and other pests, centipedes are sure to stop making their way to where they do not belong.

While a house centipede bite will not feel like much in most situations, it is still best to avoid a centipede infestation. If centipedes crawl up to your bed and find their way inside your ears, it can be quite a fatal accident!

Thus you must always be careful and find out ways to gently remove these insects from around your vicinity.

Should I Kill House Centipedes?

Researchers do not consider house centipede bites poisonous or harmful; however, it is best to hire someone to rid your house of such issues. This is because, while you may be able to kill the odd centipede, there could still be many others hiding in other parts of the house.

A professional should be able to assess the situation in a much better way and thus be able to rid your house of house centipedes and their bites.

Centipedes aren't poisonous to pets, and most pets survive centipede bites. However, some dogs have shown more severe responses to centipede bites, which is why you should take special care that your house isn't a hotspot for centipedes and other similar creatures!

Centipedes, in fact, act as a means of pest control since they hunt prey.

A house centipede's diet is likely to consist of flies, bugs, and other pests that you have wanted to get rid of anyway.

However, it is probably best to opt for more popular ways of pest control rather than having a few house centipedes crawling about. Since house centipedes are mostly attracted to human houses in search of any pests, such as bed bugs, pest control will also discourage this creature from entering your house.

Once your house has been cleansed of all pests and insects, you may also stop living in constant fear of a centipede bite, as these creatures are most likely to leave.

While all these methods do work, it is understood that killing centipedes can sometimes prove to be essential. It is also important to note that some centipedes have potent venom and can cause intense pain, which can be similar to a bee sting.

It is thus best to get rid of these insects if you aren't familiar with centipede species.

Did You Know...

House centipedes get inside through the gaps between doors and windows!

Centipedes protect themselves by biting.

A centipede should not be squished due to the mere fact that it would alert other such creatures in the vicinity, and you may soon have an entire army of centipedes crawling toward you!

If a centipede bites you and it starts to hurt, contact your family physician or go to a hospital at the earliest possible moment!

The use of cedar oil can help you in getting rid of centipedes and silverfish.

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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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Fact-checked by Niyati Parab

Bachelor of Commerce

Niyati Parab picture

Niyati ParabBachelor of Commerce

With a background in digital marketing, Niyati brings her expertise to ensure accuracy and authenticity in every piece of content. She has previously written articles for MuseumFacts, a history web magazine, while also handling its digital marketing. In addition to her marketing skills, Niyati is fluent in six languages and has a Commerce degree from Savitribai Phule Pune University. She has also been recognized for her public speaking abilities, holding the position of Vice President of Education at the Toastmasters Club of Pune, where she won several awards and represented the club in writing and speech contests at the area level.

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