Tim Gibb, Entomology Department
(Click on smaller image to view larger image.)
(Photo Courtesy of Lindy Miller, Vigo County CES Educator)
The photo submitted was identified as a house centipede (Chilopoda:Scutigera coleoptrata). This centipede in not uncomonly found in homes but is unique in that it has much longer legs than most centipedes that we are used to seeing. As a result it can run much more quickly. It is often found in older homes where it feeds on flies, spiders and other arthropods that it might find there. Rest assured that this centipede DOES NOT harm people, nor does it do any damage to stored foods or household furnishings. Regardless of its benefits, few homeowners enjoy sharing their living quarters with these little critters.
Chemicals are not recommended for control, however, cleaning up clutter reduces their hiding places and vacuuming them up along with any other insects that they rely on for food will help in long term control. We have found that using a series of well placed 'sticky glue-traps' (avaialble at many hardware and discount stores) is a good control method as well. Remember that house centipedes often come out at night and travel next to base-boards while they search of their prey. Placing a trap on the floor in the very corner of the room is the best technique. This will catch the majority of the house centipedes in your home.
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Last updated: 15 October 2001/tlm.
The Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University.