Where Do Centipedes Come From? How Can You Avoid Them?

Ayan Banerjee
Feb 18, 2023 By Ayan Banerjee
Originally Published on Oct 29, 2021
Edited by Amy Lines
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Giant centipede isolated on white background
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

What's that running through the walls with lots of tiny legs?

They're centipedes! Centipedes are grayish-brown colored creatures belonging to the class of anthropods.

The name 'centipede' has a Latin origin in which 'centi' means 'hundred' and 'pedes' means 'foot.' The species of house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata) is known to be originated from the Mediterranean region and now they are spread all throughout the world, living amongst human beings, in their houses. These creatures have up to 15 pairs of legs and can crawl swiftly from one hiding place to another. Their heads also have a pair of long antennas helping them to track other pests in their surroundings. Centipedes can live as long as six years if they are not preyed on by other creatures and lay 35 eggs or more inside the soil during the summer. Centipedes prefer environments that are cool and damp where significant moisture is present as they cannot survive dry conditions. Their body mechanism does not store water, thus, moist surroundings are necessary to protect them from dehydration and extremely cold weather. When outside the house, they basically live outdoor under large rocks, heaps of leaves, piles of wood, and debris from unfinished construction and trash bins. The centipedes prey using the sense of touch and smell because they have weak eyesight and their food consists of other soft-bodied pests like silverfish bugs, flies, spiders, and other house pests. They are natural pest hunters to control other pest populations. Centipedes can rarely be spotted, unless it catches your sight, because of their nocturnal activity. Also, with the fast speed that they move with their small legs, it is difficult to spot a centipede!

Centipedes mostly come from the yard and take entry inside the house to avoid the cold weather outdoors. They are also attracted to places where they can find lots of prey. Adult centipedes hide in moist and dark areas. Unlike other pests, they do not have any sign of presence, unless you actually see them in the house. Some common locations that can be their hiding spots inside the house are bathtubs, sinks, sewage pipes, and basements. Centipedes may crawl into the cracks in the foundation of the house. Centipedes do not actually carry any disease that is fatal to us.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about how often do bed bugs feedandwhere do carpet beetles come from here on Kidadl!

Where do house centipedes come from?

House centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) are small-sized common arthropods that invade our houses and they have lots of legs. They are found throughout the world and are mostly found in the cracks, gaps, and shady indoors of the apartments, thus, they are called house centipedes.

Centipedes take shelter in our home for mainly three reasons: food, water, and shelter. These pest species are nocturnal and look for moist habitats, as they cannot survive dry conditions. They mostly feed on the other pests roaming inside the home like spiders, cockroaches, ants, bugs, and other warm-bodied anthropods and take shelter in moist areas with damp surroundings which are ideal for them. If your home has a messy yard or garden giving shelter to many insects, then that can be a happy home for house centipedes. They can come close to the home looking for harborage, which can be any item away from the sunlight and large enough for them to hide in it. Centipedes may crawl into the cracks in the foundation of the house or even come inside from the electric outlets. The presence of centipedes in the house can be useful as they feed on other pests and control the infestation of other pests mostly cockroaches. Centipedes are not a bad sign, they are harmless just like the other pests in the house. If you spot a centipede in your house, you should not kill it as it will kill other notorious pests in your house. However, a large population of centipedes can be a problem. You can get rid of centipede pests by keeping the inside of the house clean, setting dehumidifiers to reduce moisture, and sealing the cracks and unwanted spaces in the foundation of the house.

Where do centipedes come from in the bathroom?

In the summer season, house centipede insects are rarely found indoors, rather they are found outdoors, hiding in the soil or among tree plants. During the winter season, they cannot tolerate cold, and so, they move inside a nearby home. They crawl through the sewers and water pipes and enter the home through moist and damp areas like bathrooms.

Generally, centipedes are not a big threat to humans, but they may scare people in the bathroom by running on the bathroom floor, or coming out from the shower drains. Some of them might bite humans and inject their venom, which can cause swelling and some pain. Cleaning drains regularly and minimizing moisture in the possible areas of their entry inside the bathroom is a trick to keep them at bay. If there is a big margin centipede infestation in the bathroom or in the home, it is advisable to call and take help from pest control services.

A centipede on green leaf in garden

Do centipedes come from the basement?

It seems like centipedes have a special liking for damp locations in the houses like basements or bathrooms. The basement is damp and has a collection of moisture as it is next to the ground and also due to sources like humidifiers, bathroom appliances, laundry, and the debris of leftover construction work.

House centipede insects crawl out from basements to the house indoors, in search of food. They come near houses looking for harborage and can be living in the dark moist corners such as on the basement walls, behind the attics inside piles of firewood, or in trash bins. They have a thin and long body and can be of various colors, making them unnoticeable unless you step on a centipede. Centipedes seldom bite humans, and if they do bite, adults may have swelling, pain, and occasionally fever, while if children are injected with centipede venom, they may have dangerous allergies. You should use pest repellent sprays on the possible entry points for the centipedes to come inside the house. Clearing away unwanted items from the basement will make it less convenient for them to take shelter there. Also, keeping the yard well-maintained and clean is important to keep away the centipedes from invading the house.

Do centipedes and spiders come from the same ancestor?

Centipedes and spiders belong to the same class of arthropods, therefore, it can be considered that they come from the same ancestors.

Both spiders and centipedes prefer to take shelter in dark and damp areas and are predatory insects. House centipedes eat other anthropod insects and pests like bugs, spiders, ants, and other household insects. They mostly hunt their prey during the night, due to their nocturnal nature. They hunt using the antennas on top of their head, instead of their eyes.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly factsfor everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for where do centipedes come from,then why not take a look at where do bed bugs come from or centipede fun facts?

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Written by Ayan Banerjee

Bachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Ayan Banerjee picture

Ayan BanerjeeBachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Thanks to his degree in nautical science from T.S. Chanakya, IMU Navi Mumbai Campus, Ayan excels at producing high-quality content across a range of genres, with a strong foundation in technical writing. Ayan's contributions as an esteemed member of the editorial board of The Indian Cadet magazine and a valued member of the Chanakya Literary Committee showcase his writing skills. In his free time, Ayan stays active through sports such as badminton, table tennis, trekking, and running marathons. His passion for travel and music also inspire his writing, providing valuable insights.

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