If you haven't seen them crawling around your house, consider yourself lucky. But for those that have Scutigera coleoptrata, or house centipedes, inside of their homes, they can be a big (literally)—and creepy—nuisance.
Yes, though their venomous bites can be painful, centipede venom is "not normally life endangering to humans," according to Orkin.com.
But, according to Steve Jacobs, an urban entomologist at Penn State University's College of Agricultural Sciences, "If house centipedes are seen frequently, this indicates that some prey arthropod is in abundance, and may signify a greater problem than the presence of the centipedes."
"During the daytime, the centipedes inhabit dark, damp locations in the home and come out at night to forage for prey," Jacobs writes. "House centipedes feed on silverfish, firebrats, carpet beetle larvae, cockroaches, spiders and other small arthropods."
An arthropod itself, the centipede is colloquially referred to as a "hundred-legger." After all, "centipede" translates to "100 legs." However, centipedes may have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs, Orkin.com states. "If caught by a predator, a house centipede will reflexively detach its legs, which it is capable of regenerating at a later time."
Sound fun yet?
Many homeowners turn to centipede pesticides to fight off these invaders, but killing centipedes may lead to an abundance of their prey in your house. And some folks don't want the chemicals inside of their home.
A possible solution to the problem is to reseal your home's doors and windows so that centipedes and their prey stay outside.
Some pest-control services offer what are considered safe chemicals to be sprayed inside of your home to control things like centipedes and spiders. You can even buy some of those chemicals yourself and save on the service charges.
Have tips on how to fight against house centipedes? Please share them in the comments section below.