What to Do If You’re Bitten by a House Centipede

Identify the pest that bit you – if it’s a house centipede. They look grayish-brown, with long, multi-segmented legs. Their body size is normally one inch, but can reach 1 1/2 inch when mature.

Knowing which pest bit you is key for treating the bite properly.

Recognize the house centipede

Suspect a house centipede bite? Recognize the pest! It’s usually brown or gray, between one and one-and-a-half inches long, with flat, wide bodies and up to 15 pairs of short legs. Plus two large antennae as long as its body, two appendages at the rear of its abdomen and three dark stripes down its back (sometimes).

Note any possible insect bites you got during your encounter. That helps with treatment.

Learn about its habits

House centipedes are easy to identify. They have fifteen legs and can travel 1.3 feet per second, allowing them to flee from predators quickly. You will often find them in damp spaces such as basements, bathrooms, garages, and crawl spaces.

These creatures feed on spiders, silverfish, moths, earwigs, ants, and flies. To attract their prey, they hunt at nighttime or stay still and wait for an unsuspecting victim. They use venom to paralyze their victims before eating them. House centipedes cannot puncture human skin, so a bite from one should not cause any acute toxicity.


Treat the Bite

Got bit by a house centipede? Don’t panic. Their venom can cause pain, redness and swelling. But it’s usually not serious. Treating the bite is simple. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Apply a cold compress to the affected area.
  2. Take an antihistamine to reduce swelling.
  3. Clean the area with antiseptic.
  4. Apply a topical antibiotic to the wound.
  5. If pain persists, take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Clean the wound

Clean the wound. Use an antiseptic, like iodine or alcohol. A centipede bite needs thorough cleaning to prevent any bacterial infection. Wash the area with soap and running water. Or, use an antibacterial agent, if your doctor tells you to.

Tap the wound lightly, to take out dirt and other small particles. Put a topical antiseptic solution on it, like iodine or rubbing alcohol. This helps kill germs that may enter through the bite.

Apply a cold compress

A cold compress can offer relief from a house centipede bite. Wrap an ice pack or bag of frozen veggies in a towel. Don’t put it directly onto skin, as it could cause a burn. Gently apply pressure for 15 mins. or until warm. Take off and reapply if needed.

To reduce discomfort and itching, take over-the-counter antihistamine or anti-inflammatory meds like ibuprofen.

Seek medical attention if necessary

A house centipede bite may cause local swelling and pain. It also can be itchy or aggravated. Although centipedes are not known to be a major risk to humans, people with allergies, or weak immune systems, should get medical attention if they have any adverse symptoms.

If the swelling or pain does not go away after some time, consider your medical history and any allergies. People with compromised immune systems should consult their doctor quickly.

Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction could be:

  • dizziness
  • wheezing
  • hives
  • rash
  • trouble breathing/swallowing
  • tightness in the throat or chest
  • swelling of eyelids/face/mouth/lips

If you experience any of these after a centipede bite, seek medical advice. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening if untreated.

Prevent Future Infestations

House centipede infestations are serious. To prevent them, identify entry points and seal them. Vacuum carpets and floors often. Keep food storage containers tightly sealed. Here are other preventative measures to take when dealing with house centipedes:

  • Identify entry points and seal them.
  • Vacuum carpets and floors often.
  • Keep food storage containers tightly sealed.

Reduce moisture in your home

To stop house centipedes, get rid of moisture! They like dark and damp places. Fix drainage and reduce humidity. Also, remove objects that they could hide in, like woodpiles, leaves and decaying material. Seal cracks and repair worn weatherstripping around windows and doors. Check outdoor entrances – an open door or window is a welcome sign for centipedes!

Finally, make sure there’s no food around, like crumbs on counters or under furniture.

Seal cracks and crevices

House centipedes enter homes through small gaps and crevices. To prevent them, inspect your home for cracks and hiding places. Close any openings that are bigger than 1/4 inch with caulk or steel wool. Pay attention to doorways, windows, and plumbing fixtures. Repair any torn screens too.

To prevent house centipedes in your attic, check for masonry cracks or missing mortar joints near chimneys. If there are galvanized metal drainage pipes connected to oildrums, replace them with insect screening material. Use exterior grade foam sealant on masonry blocks in chimneys.

Eliminate food sources

To keep house centipedes away, eliminating food sources is key. They are attracted to houses due to spiders, moths, flies, silverfish and cockroaches.

To reduce the chances of them entering, keep areas clean. Vacuum and remove clutter. Seal cracks or crevices and caulk them.

Also, deal with any standing water around the house. Check around air conditioning units. Use a dehumidifier in humid conditions.

Seal all doors, windows and other openings. Use screens for windows and doors. Insecticide-treated screens maximize effectiveness against bugs.

Control the Population

House centipedes? Got an infestation? Control the population! How?

  • Get rid of food sources.
  • Seal home entry cracks.
  • Alter the environment, make it less friendly to them.
  • Natural repellents also work.

Let’s investigate further!

Use traps or baits

If your home is filled with house centipedes, traps and baits can help. Glue boards and sticky tapes as traps work well. Place them near where the centipedes are active. Like, under furniture and around wall edges.

Baits, like borax or certain pesticides, can be bought or made at home to reduce the population of centipedes. But be careful! Check the label for warnings, as some types of bait can be dangerous. Put the baits in places where centipedes are seen, not where children or pets can access.

Vacuum up any visible centipedes

Vacuuming up centipedes can help reduce their population in your home. This is a good way to do this without harsh chemicals or poisons. You must be careful when vacuuming them as they can cause injury.

  • Attach the vacuum hose directly to the nozzle
  • Seal doors and windows
  • Wear protective clothing such as gloves and long-sleeved shirts
  • Vacuum quickly, not disturbing furniture or objects
  • Then, discard the bag in an outdoor trash receptacle away from your home.

Contact a pest control professional

Contact a pest control company if you’ve been bitten by a house centipede. Professional services are best for this kind of pest. Reach out to an experienced, licensed expert. Quickly identify the species and follow proper treatment protocols.

If you’re still having problems, set up barriers or traps around the home. This will help prevent the return of house centipedes.