Anonymous said: Hi! I have a question about House Centipedes. I like most bugs but I'm absolutely terrified of those. I don't quite know why I am but I was wondering how I could get most of them out of my house without hurting them or how I could get over my silly fear? Do they bite hard? Are they aggressive towards humans? And what do they eat?
House centipedes are completely harmless. I don’t even think they can bite through human skin. I would just remove them with a cup and index card… but those suckers are fast so that may be difficult. I usually just ignore them all together because they are wandering predators. If there is nothing for them to eat in your home, they will just pass on through. If there is something for them to eat, you will want them around to do so! They eat a variety of household pests: cockroaches, ants, silverfish (the gray insect- confusingly, some people call house centipedes silverfish as well), and their eggs. So, since their main prey is often found in homes, house centipedes are often found in homes, as well. It is a great natural way to rid your home of pests without using harmful chemicals. Hopefully, learning of their benefits to you will help you appreciate them, and not fear them!
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On this post I’ve had some commenters claim they can bite through skin. I’ve handled them plenty to no effect. People just don’t like the looks of them. I leave them alone in my house.
Yes, they can bite as can almost all spiders. However, I did follow up by saying that they don’t bite unless provoked. I have handled hundreds of spiders, assassin bugs, borers and a host of other insects - many of which COULD have bitten me, but they didn’t. I have also seen the effects of a house centipede bite personally and know for a fact that they can bite if provoked. It is painful and I would hate to think that someone got bitten because they didn’t think that they had to exercise, at least, a little caution when handling them.
Just because something doesn’t bite YOU, personally, that doesn’t mean they’re physically unable to bite (as was suggested). Bites from house centipedes are uncommon, as are most spiders, and their benefit to the ecosystem far outweighs any cons - but it is irresponsible to say they cannot bite. Just like it would be irresponsible for me to say spiders don’t bite based on not being bitten myself.
Please read the below link provided by the Entomology Department over at Penn State University, especially the part which states:
"Although all centipedes have poison glands and the means to inject their venom, bites are infrequent and normally do not cause more than temporary, localized pain."