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Order: Chilopoda
Family: Various
Scientific Name: Various
Color: Yellowish to dark brown
Legs: 15-177 pairs, 1 pair per segment
Shape: Body elongated, flattened and wormlike
Size: 1/8-6" long
Antennae: Yes
Flight: No

Centipedes are sometimes called "hundred leggers" because of their many pairs of legs. Even though centipedes are predaceous and therefore beneficial, most homeowners consider them a nuisance pest. Some species inflict a painful bite, but it is not lethal. They are widely distributed throughout the United States and the world.

Centipedes spend the winter as adults in protected habitats and become active in the spring. During the warmer months, females lay eggs in soil and cover them with a sticky substance, although some species give birth to living young. Some centipedes are known to have lived up to 6 years.

Centipedes prefer to live in moist habitats and during the day stay underneath rocks, logs and other objects in contact with the ground. They are active at night. Centipedes feed on insects and spiders. They kill by grasping prey with their powerful fangs and injecting venom. The fangs are located on the body segment just behind the head.

Mainly they are nuisance pests, but have poison glands connected to a pair of jaws and will bite if provoked. The bite is usually not medically threatening except to small children and individuals allergic to venoms. The larger species have more painful bites.

Controlling centipedes outdoors includes removing objects that provide harborage such as trash piles, rocks, boards, leaf piles, compost piles and similar materials. If centipedes occur in great numbers or are creating problems, appropriately labeled sprays or dusts may be used.

(Source: National Pest Management Association, et. al.)