Controlling arthropods, preventing reproduction


August 21, 2023

Dr. Stan Cope

Dr. Stan Cope

House centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata), common occupants of structures, can be frightening, as they have long legs, run fast, and look nasty. These arthropods’ looks are deceiving, as they are harmless. They do not survive harsh winters outdoors but will readily reproduce in heated structures.

Female house centipedes may live for many years, producing up to 150 offspring. Centipedes inhabit dark, damp locations during the day under concrete slabs, in floor drains, inside cement block walls, within cardboard boxes, etc. They emerge at night to look for a tasty meal. Preferred cuisine includes silverfish, firebrats, carpet beetle larvae, spiders and cockroaches. If you see house centipedes frequently, it may indicate an abundance of prey available, which may pose a greater pest control issue than the centipedes themselves.

The first step in control is to reduce or eliminate the food sources. This can be easily done by putting sticky trap monitors around the house to determine what the centipedes might be feeding on. Next is harborage reduction, or eliminating the necessary hiding places. Reducing the humidity also will help. As a last resort, insecticidal sprays and dusts can be applied according to label directions.


About the Author

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Dr. Stan Cope is Director of Technical Services, Public Health Entomologist at Rose Pest Solutions. He can be reached at

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