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Are Centipedes Venomous?

Written by Aptive Environmental January 27, 2020

If you thought spiders have a lot of legs, you’ll be blown away by centipedes! These crawlers can have anywhere from fifteen to nearly 200 legs (depending on the species and size). Their size can range anywhere from 4mm to 6 inches long. Some can get even longer – many centipedes in Hawaii grow to be eight inches long and almost half an inch wide. They can easily climb on floors, walls, and most other surfaces.

People tend to be terrified of them because of their large number of legs and quick speed. Are centipedes dangerous though? Keep reading to learn if they can harm you and how to get rid of them in your home.

Are Centipedes Dangerous?

Although they can bite humans, centipede venom isn’t strong enough to cause harm. They also rarely bite unless they are threatened. It can be pretty painful when they do bite (the larger the centipede, the more painful the bite will be). The only circumstance where a centipede bite could be dangerous is when someone is allergic to the venom.

Are house centipedes venomous?

Centipedes found in the house are venomous as well, but still harmless unless you’re allergic. However, a house centipede can actually be a good thing if you have issues with other insects. They hunt roaches, moths, silverfish, termites, and many other bugs. You definitely don’t want a centipede infestation, but just one centipede can get rid of other bug issues you may have.

Centipedes vs. Millipedes

Many people have difficulties telling the difference between centipedes and millipedes since they are fairly similar looking (even their names sound the same). However, there are a few differences between the two. For one, their diet is very different – centipedes are carnivorous, while millipedes feed on decaying organic matter or roots and leaves of seedling plants. Because of this, centipedes have venom that kills their prey.

In addition, their legs are spread out differently. Since centipedes need to chase prey, their legs are longer and help them run faster. Millipedes have shorter legs and they are much slower. Centipedes have one pair of legs on each body segment, while millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment. Millipedes are typically smaller than centipedes. When performing millipede extermination, slightly different measures may be taken since they bite.

While centipedes bites can be unsettling, it’s crucial to remember they are generally more afraid of you than you are of them. These critters use their venom to subdue their prey, not as a defense against humans. So, unless provoked or threatened, it’s rare for centipedes to bite humans. If bitten, the site might be red and a bit swollen, but these symptoms are typically mild and resolve quickly without serious health consequences.

Keeping Centipedes Out of Your Home

Although typically harmless, most don’t want these creepy crawlers in their house and squish them. However, killing them can be bad because centipedes usually come inside homes only when there are other insects to eat. You might be scared of centipedes, but their presence could be a sign you have an entirely different insect infestation on your hands. The most effective way to get rid of centipedes in the home is to get rid of their food source (other bugs).

One way to help with this is to seal off any cracks or other holes that insects can use to get inside your home. Additionally, use a dehumidifier or install a bathroom fan to eliminate extra moisture in the walls that attracts insects. You might need to take further measures if you have an actual infestation.

Professional Pest Control

If you have bug problems that you can’t eliminate on your own, professional pest control will likely be needed. Aptive Environmental offers centipede extermination as well as other bug extermination (cockroach exterminationsilverfish extermination, and many more) that will eliminate the bugs centipedes are attracted to. We are so confident in our expertise, we will come back at no additional cost if the bugs come back!

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