Centipedes are arthropods and therefore recognizable by their visible exoskeleton and numerous legs. House centipedes can be found in dark basements, under floorboards, behind furniture and in a multitude of other places.
The house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata) is one of a kind, but there are many other centipede types that may be dwelling in or around your house.
House Centipede (Scutigera Coleoptrata)
Adult house centipedes are easily identified by their legs. They have a grand total of thirty legs. Most of their legs are the same size, but a single pair extends farther than the others, sometimes twice the length of the centipede’s body which, on average, is roughly an inch long. If a house centipede hasn’t reached full maturity, she may be smaller and have fewer legs. You can still identify her by her coloring.
House centipedes are yellow, with dark markings across their legs and backs. You’re most likely to see a house centipede at night, as these creatures are nocturnal and prefer the darkness to forage for food. They mainly feed on smaller arthropods, such as spiders and ants.
Garden Centipede (Lithobius Forficatus)
A great deal smaller than the house centipede, garden centipedes max out their growth around two inches. Their preference is to live outside the home, among the bark and leaf litter. These reddish-brown centipedes are sometimes accidentally brought inside on garden equipment, such as shovels and hoes.
The garden centipede prefers dark, dank garden locations because he’ll die in locations that are too dry. The garden centipede requires moisture to survive, so she’s not going to live very long inside the home.
Common Desert Centipede (Scolopendra Polymorpha)
Across the Midwest and throughout the southern United States, the common desert centipede can be found. This centipede is recognized by its flat body, made of many segments. Each segment, of its tan and brown body, features a pair of legs, totaling thirty legs. Like most centipedes, common desert centipedes prefer moisture and are nocturnal. They avoid the sun at all costs, so you may come across one of these centipedes underneath a potted plant, rock or brick, where they’re attempting to hide from the sun.
Giant Redheaded Centipede (Scolopendra Heros)
Often measuring more than 9 inches, the giant redheaded centipede is the largest centipede in North America. This is not a centipede you’d want to cross because the giant redheaded centipede is known for its aggression and willingness to attack.
Like most centipedes, the giant redheaded centipede prefers cool damp locations, like wood piles and underneath rocks. Make sure to thoroughly inspect wood, before bringing it into the home, especially if you live in warmer climates, like the southern United States.