SIZE: Most centipedes found around buildings rarely measure longer than two inches. In Texas and the desert southwest, however, a couple of species can measure six inches or longer and may wander into homes and other buildings.
COLOR: Varies depending on the species. Most are brownish or orange-brown. The large Texas species has a bluish-black body, orange-red head and yellow legs.
BEHAVIOR: Centipedes are predators that live in moist areas. These nocturnal creatures hunt down insects and spiders at night. Centipedes are distinguished from millipedes in that they only have one pair of legs per body segment, while millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment. They are seldom seen inside homes, except for the house centipede, which may breed in crawl spaces and basements. The house centipede is recognized by its extremely long legs.
Outdoors, centipedes keep to moist, protected areas such as landscape mulch and beneath items in contact with the soil. Indoors, they will usually be seen near baseboards and around doorways and windows. The house centipede may be observed wandering on walls in crawl spaces, basements, garages and sometimes in other rooms of a house.
The following actions will help in controlling centipedes:
Sealing cracks and holes in the home’s exterior should help prevent centipedes from entering.
Mulch and heavy vegetation, such as ivy, should be kept away from the foundation to reduce the number of centipedes and their food supply.
House centipedes may require treatments that are best applied by a professional.