Insect Identification
Insect Identification

House Centipede - (Scutigera coleoptrata)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 8/12/2014

The helpful, fast and frenzied House Centipede makes short work of ridding homes from unwanted pests.

House Centipedes are covered with black and yellow to white coloring. Legs appear to surround the body which consists of 15 pairs of banded legs. The body itself is striped lengthwise with a dark-to-light-to-dark pattern. Large compound eyes adorn the head and males typically have very long antennae. The last pair of legs in the series on the body will typically be the longest.

As hideous as these insects may appear, the House Centipede is actually super-beneficial in the under-belly of a home, assisting homeowners in keeping bigger pests such as cockroaches and moths at bay. House Centipedes move EXTREMELY fast and run with their bodies held high above the ground. Only when they stop do they bring their bodies back down to the surface. They are fierce predators and consume many insects a day.

The House Centipede is a very common sight throughout North America, particularly found in indoor locations that are wet or damp and most often times active at night. In warmer climates, they may be found outdoors as well as indoors.

House Centipedes are no strangers to bathtubs and will sometimes emerge from drain holes. Other house locations that they may be found in is the crawlspace, near the porch area (drawn in by porch lights) and in basin-type setups.

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Category: Centipede
Common name: House Centipede
Scientific Name: Scutigera coleoptrata
Other Names: Centipede

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Chilopoda
     Order: Scutigeromorpha
      Family: Scutigeridae
       Genus: Scutigera
        Species: coleoptrata

Adult Size (Length): 34mm to 35mm (1.34in to 1.38in)

Identifying Colors: black; brown; ivory; yellow; white

Additional Descriptors: many legs; extremely fast; large; helpful

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.