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Centipedes

Category: Centipedes

Description:

Adults are approximately 1/8-6” long, elongated, flattened, and wormlike. They are usually yellow to dark brown in colour and sometimes have darker stripes or markings. Pairs of legs number 15-177 with 1 pair per segment. First instar centipedes usually have 4 pairs of legs and additional segments and pairs of legs are added with additional molts.

Biology:

Centipedes typically overwinter outdoors in protected situations and lay their eggs in or on the soil during the summer. Females have been observed to produce 35 eggs over a period of days. Depending on the species, they may live anywhere between 1-6 years. If handled roughly some of the larger species can break the human skin resulting in a bite that causes some pain and swelling, much like a bee sting. However, the large Scolopendra can inflict a very painful bite and should be handled with great care.

Habits:

Centipedes are typically found in areas of high moisture such as loose bark, rotting logs, under stones, trash, piles of leaves and grass clippings, flower-bed mulch, etc., where their typical prey is found. Some species will sometimes feed on plant tissues causing injury.

Control:

The key to centipede control is to reduce or eliminate moist areas and harbourage. For example, remove accumulations of leaves and grass clippings; move logs, stones and rocks off the ground, provide adequate ventilation in crawl spaces etc. Indoors, centipedes are easily removed with a vacuum. Application of appropriately labelled residuals can be made to exterior building foundation walls, perimeter flower and/or ornamental plant beds, unfinished basements, and crawl spaces. Control of the small arthropods, upon which centipedes feed, helps make building areas less attractive to them.

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