Does the sight of a centipede get you shivering, or do you step closer to take a closer look? Centipedes are fascinating creatures, and ones most of us won’t run from in fear. While spotting the odd centipede while moving logs in your yard probably won’t concern you, a few of them can have a nasty “bite”, so it’s best to stay out of their way.
There are 3 types of centipede that live here in Arizona, so let’s take a closer look at these insects and what you can expect from them.
Where are centipedes found in Arizona?
Centipedes can be found throughout the state, even in the desert, as you’ll see shortly. Most of the time, however, centipedes are nocturnal and thrive in wet, cool, and dark environments. Centipedes rarely want to come inside the house, but they are interested in sheds, some garages, and crawlspaces under the house if there is organic material for them to hide in.
3 Arizona Centipedes
- The House Centipede
The house centipede is the smallest (and the least dangerous) of the three Arizona centipedes, measuring in at just 1-2 inches. It’s dark in color, has dark vertical stripes, and has 15 pairs of long legs. While no one is going to be particularly pleased about seeing a house centipede in their home, they’ll help you keep other pests at a minimum.
Like spiders, these unwelcome house visitors will happily snack on any other bug it comes across, from bed bugs and cockroaches to termites and silverfish.
Despite their name, house centipedes prefer to live outdoors, burrowing into soil, under rocks, or a heap of organic material in your garden. Usually, house centipedes will only come inside during times of heavy rainfall as the soil becomes too cold and wet. Make sure your home is sealed properly to keep these critters out.
- The Common Desert Centipede
The common desert centipede looks more like a classic centipede than the house centipede, with its long legs, but their size makes them more intimidating. These centipedes are 4-5 inches on average, with 40 pairs of short, pale legs. They are usually caramel brown, but you can find some that are more green, yellow, or blue in tone. These centipedes will usually eat other insects, but large ones have been known to eat rodents and even small snakes.
If a common desert centipede “bites” a human, it can be painful, but you don’t need to panic. While they are venomous, their venom is not harmful to humans. Like its smaller cousins, the common desert centipede prefers to live under rocks or anywhere cool and dark.
- The Giant Desert Centipede
If you spot one of these centipedes, you’ll be forgiven for shrieking and running the other way. This critter is the largest of the three, measuring an average of 6 to 8 inches in length. There are rumors of them reaching more than a foot in length, but if anyone has truly seen one that size, they’ve not been able to prove it!
The size, combined with its black and orange-colored body and pale legs, makes it pretty easy to spot if you catch them out in the open. Fortunately, though, they’re usually hidden in dark areas, so you’re unlikely to come across one unless you’re moving rocks, logs, or piles of garden debris.
The giant desert centipede feeds on insects and small animals like toads, mice, and even small snakes. The sting of a giant desert centipede can be very painful, so if you see one, leave it be. If you have to move it for some reason (such as kids or pets being a little too interested in one they’ve found), use a trowel or wear thick leather gloves.
While centipede infestations aren’t common, allowing the latter two centipedes to frequent your property with any regularity may worry you if you have kids or pets playing nearby. If you have any concerns about centipedes near your home in Arizona, we’re here to help. We offer free inspections so we’ll assess the situation and recommend the right course of action. Click here to request your inspection today.