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  • Color: yellowish to dark brown, often with dark markings; the house centipede which is grey-yellow with three stripes down the back and very long legs banded with white.
  • Size: 1/8- to 6-inches long.
  • Flattened body with 15-177 body segments which typically have one pair of legs each.
  • One pair of slender antennae.


  • Centipedes typically overwinter outdoors.
  • During the summer, they lay 35 eggs or more in or on the soil.
  • Newly hatched centipedes have four pairs of legs; during subsequent molts, the number of legs progressively increase until the centipede becomes an adult.
  • Adults of many species live a year and some as long as five to six years.
  • Centipedes, including the house centipede, prefer to live in moist environments.
  • Most are active at night.
  • The first pair of legs has poison glands which are used to kill prey such as insects and spiders. Most of their water is obtained from their prey.


  • Centipedes can sting humans with modified front legs if handled, but the stings are rare and seldom worse than a bee sting.
  • Nuisance and often distressing to homeowners.

Look for:

  • Centipedes indoors in damp basements, moist closets, or in bathrooms.
  • Centipedes outdoors under stones, decaying firewood, objects on the ground, piles of leaves, mulch, etc.


  • Centipede harborage areas, e.g., piles of trash, stones, boards, leaves, grass, and compost should be removed.
  • Entry into houses should be prevented by sealing and caulking gaps around siding, windows, doors, pipes, wires, etc.
  • Indoor harborage sites of house centipedes should be eliminated.
  • A vacuum can be used to remove exposed centipedes.

Innovative Pest Management serves the Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland area. Call us at (240) 755-0077 to schedule a free quote or appointment.