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The biking centipede, a useful arthropod


Who's the centipede ?

The centipede, scutigera coleoptrataLatin name : scutigera coleoptrata
Order : Chilopods
Family : scutigéridés
Size : up to 4.5 cm
Location : any dwelling
Period : all year round 

What you need to know about centipede

The centipede, or millipede (which really only has 14 pairs of legs), is not by definition an insect, but a myriapod arthropod. In southern Europe, it lives mainly in the wild. In northern Europe, they can only survive in houses and flats. 

Very fast, centipede have 28 very long legs and a pair of forcipulae and measure a maximum of 3 cm (excluding legs) when adult. Young centipede are born with four pairs of legs and gradually develop the others as they moult. Centipede legs are particularly long and fragile, especially at the back of the body, but they are able to regenerate them between moults. The body is white, sometimes yellowish, with three long blue, black or grey stripes.

A useful insect in our homes

The centipede, scutigera coleoptrata

The centipede is considered useful because it feeds exclusively on invertebrates such as flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, moths and even wasps. Like other chilopods, the centipede breathes using respiratory pores, which it cannot close. If exposed to hot, dry air or cold, they can quickly become dehydrated and eventually die of desiccation. Centipedeare therefore found outdoors in damp, cool habitats, such as forest litter, cavities under stones and stumps and other animals' galleries in the ground.

In the home, it prefers warm, relatively damp places such as the bathroom, garage, cellar or boiler room.

Centipede are harmless to humans, but if attacked, they can bite and inject venom, provoking an epidermal reaction. So avoid grabbing them with your hands ! The presence of venom means that the bite is somewhat painful, just like a wasp or bee sting.

Rather discreet by nature and because it is a lucifuge (flees light), it mainly comes out at night. They can also be seen during the day, but this is more rare. They prefer to hide in cracks in walls, behind furniture, household appliances, loose skirting boards, radiators and heating ducts. They wait until nightfall to come out of hiding and hunt for insects in the house.

Preventive measures

Bear in mind that the centipede is still a useful insect in our homes. It is a valuable ally in our homes, helping to regulate unwanted insect populations. Its speed and agility enable it to track down its prey with ease.

Eradication should therefore only be considered if you have a phobia. Above all, opt for preventive measures that will limit their presence :

1 - Remove their food source : As they feed mainly on harmful insects, eliminating food sources will reduce their attraction to your home. Keep your home clean, especially areas where crumbs and food debris can accumulate.

2 - Avoid water leaks : Centipede like damp environments. Repair any water leaks in your home to reduce humidity and make it a less favourable environment for them.

3 - Use natural repellents : Certain natural repellents can discourage centipede from settling in your home. You can use essential oils such as peppermint, lemon or eucalyptus by diluting them in water and spraying the mixture in areas where scutigers are frequently seen.

4 - Seal cracks, holes and other potential entrances : By sealing visible cracks, you inevitably reduce the potential entrances through which the centipede could enter your home.

5 - Capture and release : If you find a centipede in your home, rather than killing it, consider gently capturing it with a glass and a piece of cardboard, then releasing it outside away from your home.

How can I get rid of centipede ?

If you're phobic and can't stand their presence, you can sprinkle our diatomaceous earth over any infested or busy places. For action in the tiniest nooks and crannies, small holes and hard-to-reach gaps, choose diatomaceous earth spray in aerosol form.

Our All Insects AriesAll Insects Ecodoo or Aries flying insecticide aerosols should be used in direct sprays for lightning-fast elimination.

And when it comes to fumigation, the Habitat Biovétol fogger will give good results on this type of insect. An insecticide based on active ingredients of plant origin (pyrethrum + geraniol), designed for basic treatment of the home. Highly volatile, the solution settles in the smallest nooks and crannies where parasites and insects live. Immediate and prolonged action.

The products you need to combat centipede

Diatomaceous earth – Kieselguhr Celatom -...

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All Insects Natural Insecticide Aerosol -...

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Fogger Habitat with plant-based active...

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Frequently asked questions about centipedes

Q : Can house centipedes bite ?

A : Technically, a house centipede can bite. However, they are so small that the bite is unlikely to pierce human skin. House centipedes generally avoid biting humans, as they do not consider humans to be a source of food. On the contrary, they only bite if they are frightened. Most bites occur because the person has handled the centipede. As long as you don't touch it, the Scutigera coleoptrata is unlikely to attack or try to bite you. It will simply run away and look for food to eat.

Q : Is the house centipede poisonous ?

A : Centipedes have venom. It is injected at the time of the bite to control their prey so that they can eat it. House centipedes will use the venom to attack other insects they want to eat, even if the insect is larger or more dangerous than they are, because the venom can kill the insect they bite so they can eat it. The amount of venom used when a millipede bites is tiny, so it is unlikely to have any impact on humans. The biggest concern in the event of a bite is the pain of the bite, which will disappear quickly. Some people are allergic to millipede venom, however, so they should take care to avoid them or remove them from their homes.

Q : Hello, invaded every year by centipede inside the house, from spring to early autumn I'm looking for an effective solution and I thought of your Diatomaceous earth. First I'd put it on the ground around the outside of the house, then in hidden places inside. But I saw that it was possible to spray by mixing with water on the walls, is it really effective once dry and safe for children, knowing that my son is asthmatic and that I want to spray in the bedrooms ... how much to dilute ? and outside I know that wet, it is ineffective. But once it's dry, does it become effective again or do I have to apply more ?

A : Humid environments are very favourable to the development of centipede. If they are exposed to hot, dry air, or to the cold, they can very quickly dehydrate and end up dying of desiccation. Don't hesitate to check the various dampest areas of your home (especially under the bath) and apply the various products we present in our dossier to combat this arthropod. And of course, as a preventive measure, the best thing to do is to "correct" the dampness. Remove the environment favourable to its development, and the insect will leave on its own.

Regarding your questions :
Yes, that's right, pulverising diatomaceous earth allows it to be fixed to vertical walls. It would be impossible to fix it without adding water, as it's a very fine powder. Once sprayed onto walls, the water evaporates and the diatomaceous earth particle remains attached to the wall, protecting the treated surfaces from crawling insects. There's no risk in spraying it on the wall. The risk with diatomaceous earth is when you spread it in the air and inhale large quantities (which you don't need to do if you follow the application recommendations). As long as the diatom is fixed, there is no risk of inhalation.

You can start with 300 to 500 grs of powder for 1 litre of warm water.

When damp, diatomaceous earth loses its dehydrating, drying and wounding properties. Once dry, it regains its properties. Diatomaceous earth is an inert product that does not degrade. It has a very long life. If rain has washed the product out too much, it will need to be reapplied.

Q : Should I expect any damage from this insect ?

A : Unlike certain pests (termites, bees, carpenter ants, etc.), the centipede does not cause damage in the home. The millipede does not build nests or webs, does not bite (unless annoyed) and is content with dark shelter and food. As such, its diet of various invertebrates has its advantages. Despite its repulsive appearance, this predator helps to control the insects and other parasites that colonise homes, so don't kill it unless you're really phobic or it causes repeated allergies. If the sight of a scutigère bothers you, opt instead for capturing it in a box with a lid and placing it in a place that bothers you less, such as a cellar or outdoors.