November 29, 2018
There is a lot of confusion about types of centipedes in Texas. This is because there are more than one species of centipede in the state. Almost all types of centipedes are harmless to people. The only centipede you may want to be concerned about is the species known as Scolopendra heros. It is known commonly as the Texas redheaded centipede in Texas. In other parts of the country, it is called a giant desert centipede, a giant redheaded centipede, or a giant Sonoran centipede. Did you notice that the word giant is used a lot? Only in the case of the Texas redheaded centipede is the word "giant" not used. That's because everyone knows everything is bigger in Texas, even our centipedes.
The fact that Scolopendra heros is a giant centipede is the main reason why it is a danger to us. This species of centipede can take down larger prey than its cousins and, understandably, must use more venom to do so. If you get bitten by this centipede, it's going to hurt. It might even hurt a lot, depending on where you're bitten. But this pain will be localized and should only be accompanied by swelling. On occasion nausea, headache, and localized skin necrosis has been reported.
For individuals who have an allergy to its venom, severe symptoms can occur. These symptoms can include heart palpitations, racing pulse, anxiety, high blood pressure and stress on internal organs. Thankfully, there are no confirmed deaths from giant centipede bites.
As for all the other centipedes you're likely to find in your home, you have nothing to fear. They just look scary. Those centipedes rarely bite people, especially the common house centipede which, as its name implies, is the most common centipede we find inside Texas homes. You would have to pick up one of those centipedes and handle it to receive a bite. And, to be honest, that may not even be enough. It is important to understand that all centipedes do have poison jaws and are able to inject venom into their prey.
Okay, they don't generally bite. So, what do centipedes do when they get inside? Do they spread harmful bacteria? Do they damage our homes? Do they damage our stuff? Surprisingly they don't do any of these things. As pests go, centipedes don't do much more than scare us a little. But they do that quite well.
If you have a centipede infestation, don't be surprised if you see one perched right above the bathroom light switch as you flick it on. Expect to see them stuck to your walls in all kinds of places, especially the walls of your bathroom. Centipedes prefer locations that are high in humidity and moisture. That leads us to our next, and most important, point.
Centipedes are usually a warning sign of moisture damage. If you have centipedes, it is likely that you have rotting wood somewhere in your home. These insects don't chew their way into a home. They take advantage of holes chewed by other pests. And those other pests target soft, rotting wood in areas of wetness.
One of the most common reasons for rotting wood on a home is a malfunctioning gutter system. Gutters play an important role. They work to channel rainwater from your roof, down and away from your exterior walls and foundation. When they don't work properly, water runs down your walls and soaks the wood of your home. This leads to wood rot.
We often think of pest control services as something we invest in to protect our property, our health, and our belongings. While this is definitely true, pest control plays another extremely valuable role, it helps to shine a light on important threats such as water damage. When inspecting for pests, critical conditions are detected. This gives you the heads up that you need to address them and get your home healthy again. So you might want to thank those centipedes. If their creepiness ends up inspiring you to invest in year-round pest control for your home, it could save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you'd like to learn more about residential pest control service for the Greater Houston area, reach out to us. We offer three basic pest control plans that you can have customized to your specific needs. We'll help you target the pests that matter most to you, as we work to get those centipedes out of your home. Centipedes may not bite, but there are other pests that do. Centipedes may not damage your home, but there are other pests that do. Protect your health, your property, and your belongs with year-round pest protection. It just makes sense.