What do centipedes look like?

a centipede on a piece of fruit in seneca illinois

The centipede’s name means ‘hundred-legs’, but the truth of the matter is that depending on the size of their body and specific species, they can have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs. Centipedes have maxillipeds (specialized front limbs) that end in sharp claws. These claws contain venom glands and help centipedes capture and paralyze their pray. Adult centipedes have long segmented bodies, range in color from yellow-gray to dark brown, and grow to between 1/8 and 6 inches in length.

Hatchlings (young centipedes) that have just emerged from their eggs look very similar to adults but are smaller in size. They develop slowly, gaining a new body segment and set of legs each time they molt.

Where are centipedes found?

Centipedes live outdoors, preferring damp, dark places including under mulch, stones, logs, leaf piles, and other vegetation. Centipedes become a problem when they move inside Iowa & Illinois homes to escape weather that is too hot and or too dry for them to live comfortably. Like other occasional invaders, these pests enter through cracks and other openings. Basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and crawlspaces are common places to find these bugs. You might also discover them around potted plants and underneath kitchen sinks.

What do centipedes eat?

Centipedes are predators that come out of their daytime hiding spots to hunt their prey during the nighttime hours. Centipedes feed on spiders, earwigs, roaches, and other insects.

DIY centipede prevention and control tips

Even though centipedes have venom and are capable of biting people, they are not considered dangerous. They are nuisance pests though. To keep these leggy pests out of your home, we recommend caulking any gaps around doors and windows, and sealing openings around pipes, utilities, and air conditioners. You should also remove excessive moisture in your building. Outside, keep gutters free of clogs, remove debris from the lawn, and install a barrier between your lawn and the foundation.

Professional centipede control

At Quik-Kill Pest Eliminators, we offer home pest control solutions that target common household pests including occasional invaders. Contact us today to learn more about our residential and commercial services, or to schedule an inspection.

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