Centipedes are very common in San Juan County, New Mexico, and one of the things that frightens people the most. Centipedes are noctornal, and very fast movers. They can live between 3-6 years depending on the environment. Centipedes dehydrate very easily and need a moist, humid environment in order to survive. They are carnivores that feed primarily on other insects. When not hunting food, they will seek out places to rest. Outside they will seek shelter under rocks, loose bark, and leaf litter. Inside they’ll seek out crevices in walls, under carpets, wiggle under boxes, and even hide inside floor drains. Centipedes in the winter stay under cover, and lay eggs in the spring. They can lay 35 to as many as 140 eggs at a time!
Centipedes do carry venom, although many are unable to pierce human skin. If handled roughly, some larger species can inflict a painful bite that can break the skin, and cause pain and swelling similair to a bee sting. These bites rarely cause serious health concerns except in small children, the elderly, and those with a weak immune system. In our area we have very large species of Scolopendra that often invade structures and can potentially bite.
High populations may indicate high moisture levels and harborage areas around the home or high insect populations giving them a steady food supply.
House centipedes are usually yellowish-grey with as many as 15 pairs of legs. They are very common pests indoors, and unlike some of their larger relatives, can live their entire lives indoors. Bites are uncommon because they usually lack the force to penetrate human skin.
In our San Juan County, New Mexico, very large species of Scolopendra are common in and around our structures. These are to be handled with care as some can inflict a painful bite that is similar to a bee sting. They are avid nocturnal hunters and very fast movers. High populations may indicate high moisture levels and harborage areas around the home or high insect populations giving them a steady food supply.
The best prevention measures for centipedes is to reduce areas of moisture in and around the home, adequately vent crawl spaces, attics and basements, and remove leaf litter, debris, bark and rocks from around the outside periter of the home. Centipedes are carnivores, so keeping insect populations down inside and outside the home will keep them from having a food source
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