Are Dallas Centipedes Dangerous?

May 5, 2020


Centipedes are solitary, nocturnal creatures that likely won’t infest your home. However, if they are roaming about at night, it would be unsettling to see one when you wake up to get a drink of water. Fortunately, aside from an occasional bite, most centipedes do not harm humans and are more of a nuisance than anything else.

a centipede crawling on the ground

The word centipede originates from the Latin words centum meaning 100 and ped meaning foot. Although it makes it sound as though a centipede has one hundred feet, they normally do not. Centipedes are arthropods which means they have segmented bodies with a hard exoskeleton. Centipedes vary in size, and each segment has one pair of legs attached to the side of their body enabling them to move quickly. 

Centipedes Are Scary Looking But Practically Harmless

Centipedes vary in size based on age and species. If you’re seeing centipedes in your Dallas home, you’re likely spotting the house centipede. It is the only species that lives exclusively indoors and thrives when there are insects to eat and excess moisture to stay hydrated.  This species can reach four inches in length and typically grows 15 pairs of legs. Fortunately, aside from an occasional bite, most do not harm humans and are more of a nuisance than anything else.

Most centipedes live outdoors. One of the largest centipedes living and roaming around Texas is the giant red-headed centipede, and you may find one wandering through your yard. It is also known as the giant desert centipede or the giant Sonoran centipede. These creatures span a half-inch wide (not including leg span) and can grow up to nine inches long. They have long, black bodies with 21 legs that are yellow, long, and claw-like. Their heads are bright red with long, spiky antennae. The combination of their black, red, and yellow coloring sends out a message that they are dangerous creatures, and this, in turn, fends off any potential predators. Although venomous and at times quite frightening, they hold no danger for human beings.

All centipedes, regardless of species, are carnivorous. They dine on insects including cockroaches, spiders, silverfish, carpet beetle larvae, moths, and butterflies. The giant red-headed centipede will even eat small snakes, toads, lizards, and other small animals.

When eating, they hold onto their prey with their many legs and immobilize it by injecting a painful, burning toxin. They rarely bite humans, but if you do experience a bite, it typically is not a serious threat. A centipede bite results in some discomfort and short-term swelling. Those allergic to their venom may experience dizziness, nausea, and headaches. If you experience prolonged symptoms, seek medical attention.

Little-Known Ways To Protect Your Dallas Property From Centipedes

Though you may never experience a centipede bite, it's still important to know what attracts them to your Dallas home. Furthermore, a house centipede infestation may be indicative of other pest problems due to their carnivorous diet and reliance on water for survival.

  • Clean up yard debris. Centipedes prefer to live in dark, damp places such as underneath fallen rotting logs, mulch, and rocks. Keeping tree branches picked up from your yard and firewood stacked in a clean, dry area will help deter this insect.
  • Keep areas around your home dry. Make sure drainage around the home is directed away from the foundation of the house. Fix areas that collect pooling water.  
  • Solve all moisture problems inside your home. If centipedes venture into your home, they are likely searching for water. If you have excess moisture in your home, check your air conditioning units and consider installing a dehumidifier.
  • Seal off possible entry points. This is easier said than done as these creatures can fit through the smallest of openings. The thought is, if centipedes can’t get inside your home, you won’t develop a problem. Even though this may seem like an impossible task, inspecting the exterior of your home for possible entry points is always an essential approach to all pest prevention.

All species of centipedes are anti-social. Therefore, if you happen to see one in your home or yard, you likely have a bigger problem. Fortunately, the experts at Romney Pest Control have the tools and experience to eliminate centipedes from your Dallas property. If you suspect a centipede infestation, reach out to us today. One of our licensed pest technicians will inspect the interior and exterior of your home and come up with a plan for effective pest control. Contact us today for your free, no-obligation quote. 




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