Preferring damp, moist areas, centipedes are frequently found in basements, storage areas and bathrooms. Outdoors, they tend to be under an accumulation of leaves, under stones, decaying firewood, mulch, etc. Generally, they are active at night. Although centipedes can bite, the bite is seldom worse than a bee sting.
Centipedes are mostly a nuisance pest, but can bite humans. However, this is not generally a serious concern. Young centipedes are usually not able to penetrate skin, and bites from larger centipedes usually only cause minor irritation similar to mild bee stings. Centipedes are also a predator species of arthropods, removing any other pests from your home that centipedes feed on will also help to remove the centipedes themselves from your home.
The centipedes you’ll find in Utah can be split into two distinct groups: “typical” centipedes and house centipedes. Both have flattened, elongated bodies that are yellowish brown or tan in color. House centipedes also have three dark stripes that run lengthwise along their bodies. While their name literally means “hundred legs,” centipedes rarely have that many. In fact, some have as few as 20 legs. House centipedes have very long legs compared with typical centipedes, giving them a spider-like or feathery appearance. Centipedes in Utah range from 1/8 of an inch to 2 inches in length.
Centipedes are primarily a problem due to their potentially venomous bite. They are not known to be fatal in humans, these bites can be painful and could possibly require medical attention. Households with children, seniors, or individuals with heart problems should be especially vigilant against centipede infestations, as the venom from their bite can very rarely lead to heart attack.
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