Are House Centipedes Harmful?

When we are asked this question, it is usually because someone is looking to know whether or not house centipedes have a toxic venom they should be worried about. And, while these creepy bugs certainly look like they should have some kind of dangerous venom, they don't. For most people, a bite from a house centipede will not produce much more than a red welt. But, before you move on, you should know that there is more to the story.

The Anatomy Of A Centipede Bite

There is quite a bit of confusion about how and why centipedes bite people. First of all, a centipede bite isn't actually a bite. It is more of a pinch. And, before you start calling it a pinch, you should know that the two front legs these critters use to pinch with are actually hollow--and more than capable of delivering venom. When a centipede pinches, these legs pierce the skin and a venom is injected into the bite wounds. So, a centipede's bite is actually more of a sting than a bite. And, it isn't just one sting. It is two stings.

Does It Hurt To Be Bitten By A House Centipede?

Some compare a house centipede bite to a bee sting but the amount of pain varies by individual, the location of the bite, and how much venom is introduced into the bite wound. The pain will usually start as a localized burning with the burning sensation growing to an area as large as 3 inches. If this venom spreads through an area with more nerve endings, there will be more pain.

When Is A Centipede Bite Harmful?

  • Allergies: There are some who are allergic to the venom of a house centipede. While normal symptoms are swelling, redness, and pain. If you experience a rapid heart rate, throat swelling, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Secondary Issues: If wounds left by a centipede get infected, it can lead to other, more complicated medical issues beyond the initial wound. It is always a good practice to keep any wound clean.

  • Sleepless Nights: For some people, having centipedes crawling around in their home can lead to sleepless nights. These are disturbing looking critters that few people want to find crawling on them when they wake up or be awakened by one when they bite. If this goes on long enough, it can lead to issues of sleep deprivation.

How To Make Centipedes Even More Harmless

The most harmless centipede is the one that is not inside your home. Here are a few ways you can keep them out:

  • Do an inspection of your foundation and exterior walls. If you see any gaps, cracks, or holes, use a caulking gun to seal them up. A caulking gun is not only a great temporary fix, it is the perfect fix for many gaps that grow over time.

  • Make sure all of your weather stripping, door sweeps, and screens are in good working condition.

  • Centipedes love moisture, if you have leaky spigots, obstructions in your gutter system, or shaded areas where rainwater creates areas of moisture for long periods, these should be addressed.

  • It is also important to address moisture and humidity inside your home as well. If you have a damp or moist basement, consider adding a dehumidifier or some ventilation to make things dry. This can drive centipedes back out.

The best way to keep centipedes out of your home is to sign up for ongoing pest control service from a pest control company. Sure, we're a pest control company, but we would say this even if we weren't. Centipedes are resourceful invaders that can exploit small openings and hard-to-see entry points. A professional knows where to look, and what products are required to make vulnerable areas more resistant to invasion. A professional will also ensure that everything is done in a way that follows industry best practices and all established government safety regulations.

For assistance with the control of centipedes, and other potentially harmful household pests, contact Schendel for a free quote. We service Topeka Kansas and the surrounding area with industry-leading pest control solutions. In 2012, we earned a position in PCT Magazines Top 100 list of pest management companies. Let us show you why. 


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