- Color: yellowish to dark brown, often with dark markings; the house centipede which is grey-yellow with three stripes down the back and very long legs banded with white.
- Size: 1/8- to 6-inches long.
- Flattened body with 15-177 body segments which typically have one pair of legs each.
- One pair of slender antennae.
- Centipedes typically overwinter outdoors.
- During the summer, they lay 35 eggs or more in or on the soil.
- Newly hatched centipedes have four pairs of legs; during subsequent molts, the number of legs progressively increase until the centipede becomes an adult.
- Adults of many species live a year and some as long as five to six years.
- Centipedes, including the house centipede, prefer to live in moist environments.
- Most are active at night.
- The first pair of legs has poison glands which are used to kill prey such as insects and spiders. Most of their water is obtained from their prey.
- Centipedes can sting humans with modified front legs if handled, but the stings are rare and seldom worse than a bee sting.
- Nuisance and often distressing to homeowners.
- Centipedes indoors in damp basements, moist closets, or in bathrooms.
- Centipedes outdoors under stones, decaying firewood, objects on the ground, piles of leaves, mulch, etc.
- Centipede harborage areas, e.g., piles of trash, stones, boards, leaves, grass, and compost should be removed.
- Entry into houses should be prevented by sealing and caulking gaps around siding, windows, doors, pipes, wires, etc.
- Indoor harborage sites of house centipedes should be eliminated.
- A vacuum can be used to remove exposed centipedes.