Several centipede species inhabit central Texas, and they are all venomous, but luckily, the commonly encountered house centipede species’ is not able to penetrate human skin with its mandibles. Despite their relatively small moutharts, house centipedes are widely reviled due to their unpleasant appearance and their nuisance presence within homes, which can become sizable. Unlike most centipede species, house centipedes are able to remain indoors indefinitely where they can reproduce and rely on other arthropods for sustenance. However, house centipedes cannot survive in homes unless they locate a moist harborage, which is why these critters are often found in large numbers within damp areas of kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. Naturally, keeping indoor spaces dry, maintaining pipes, and preventing rainwater leaks will keep these insects from surviving in homes. Spraying their indoor and outdoor harborges, and applying perimeter insecticides around a home can also reliably prevent indoor centipede invasions for a period of time. While the house centipede is easily the most frequent indoor centipede pest, other potentially dangerous centipede species are often found in homes as well.
During the daytime hours in the natural environment, centipedes can be found in the dark beneath objects and materials commonly located in residential yards. Once evening arrives, centipedes emerge from their moist nesting sites in order to feed on other arthropods, even large spiders and scorpions. Various centipede species ranging in size from less than 1 inch to more than 8 inches can be found beneath wood piles, logs, landscape ornaments, flower pots, and bundles of plant debris near homes. Centipedes often inflict bites to gardners, and while not fatal, their bites are extremely painful. Some species, like the Texas redhead centipede, transmits venom that can induce nausea and even temporary paralysis in humans. Although this 6 to 8 inch long species is occasionally found in central Texas, they are most abundant in the southwest region of the state. That being said, multiple large and highly venomous biting centipede species in Central Texas often move into moist basements and other indoor areas where they can pose a medical threat to residents. For example, the bark centipede often hides in shoes, leading to painful bites within homes.
Have you ever discovered a centipede that you believe exceeded 6 inches in length?