House Centipedes

There are several species of house centipedes in the world.

Scutigeridae (house centipedes) in the order Scutigeromorpha (house centipedes)


A yellowish-brown, distinctively shaped centipede with up to 15 pairs of extremely long legs. As with all other centipedes, there is only one pair of legs per leg-bearing body segment. The legs of house centipedes are barbed to help hold prey. The species we most commonly see has three dark stripes running along the top of the body. Unlike many other centipedes commonly encountered, house centipedes are not flattened top to bottom, and they can run startlingly quickly.


Body length: slightly over 1 inch (not including legs)

House Centipede

House Centipede
House Centipede
House Centipede
Habitat and conservation

These centipedes are usually found inside homes in damp areas like basements, crawl spaces, cellars and bathrooms, especially in winter, when they move indoors. It is not uncommon to see them scurry across floors or walls in search of food. Outside you will find them under rocks and logs or in similar protected areas.


House centipedes, like all centipedes, are predators of other arthropods. Their diet consists of cockroach nymphs, spiders, silverfish, crickets, bedbugs, flies, moths and earwigs, many of which are considered household pests. House centipedes subdue their prey with venomous fangs. They cannot easily bite humans, but if they do, it is generally no worse than a bee sting.

image of House Centipedes Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri




Life cycle

The female lays between 35 and 100 eggs. She does not guard them or provide for them in any way. The larvae are born with 4 pairs of legs; they add more pairs of legs as they molt and grow larger.

Human connections

House centipedes are aggressive predators of small insects, many of which are considered pests by humans. However, you may not wish to have these fast-moving centipedes in your home, either. Try excluding them by sealing small cracks and other entryways, or consult a licensed pest controller.

Ecosystem connections

Centipedes are predators that consume smaller invertebrates, particularly insects and other arthropods. They become food for other predators, such as birds, reptiles and mammals. Their eggs and young are especially vulnerable to predation.