House centipedes have very long legs and move fast across the floor, wall, and even the ceiling. They are predators of spiders and insects and are not a threat to people. Primary activity can be seen most late at night.
The house centipede lives primarily in houses and other buildings, not outdoors. They are usually brought into houses in boxes and packages from other houses, or even grocery stores. In warm months they can be found on the outside of houses, usually climbing on the siding or brick walls.
Because they are active at night, house centipedes are not seen very often. They are actually very common, especially in ground-level floors and basements. Often the only sign of their presence is a full-grown centipede running on a wall, or an immature in the sink or on the kitchen counter.
Eliminating house centipedes is difficult, because their movement is random and spraying insecticides indoors on surfaces, such as baseboards, would not be effective. We recommend using an outdoor perimeter spray around the foundation and placing sticky traps indoors in rooms where you have spotted¬†these bugs. Place the traps along baseboards, under sinks, and along the walls in basements.
These are sometimes called ‘thousand legers’ and they are common in the turf and mulch around houses. Their rounded shape, many legs and slow movement make them easy to identify.
Turfgrass millipedes live outdoors in the organic mulch around houses and also in the layer of dead grass in turf. This millipede comes indoors through openings around doors and windows. They do not survive indoors and do not infest houses. They are often very common after a heavy rainfall.
These small millipedes are often found curled up (dead) inside ground-floor doors and windows. They can be seen crawling on walls or the floor along the baseboard near a door.
Millipedes do not infest houses or survive indoors, and any that come inside will die in a few days because it is too dry for them. Sticky traps near doors and windows (along the baseboard) will capture millipedes.
Preventing millipedes from coming inside is difficult, but sealing around doors and windows will help. Removing excess mulch (not more than 4 inches) and vegetation around the perimeter of the foundation can help reduce the population and keep some of them out. Treating the soil around the perimeter with liquid insecticide may be effective.