The presence of an insect in its interior often has the gift of igniting a hint of anxiety in us: can it sting? is he the only one? is the home poorly maintained? The centipede is one of those repulsive little beasts that we can meet in our homes and that we want to get rid of. But how ?
Who is the centipede?
There are 3,500 species of centipedes in the world. But in France, you will only be able to meet the swift scutiger (scutigera coleoptrata) varying in color from beige to yellowish.
The length of its body generally varies between 2.5 and 5 cm. When they reach adulthood, the swift scutiger has fifteen pairs of legs. It is therefore not an insect which has only three. This allows it to move at a speed of just under 1.5 km / h, which corresponds to a distance of 40 cm in one second. It is an agile beast that we have seen jumping off a piece of furniture or making tight 90 degree turns.
It belongs to the class of chilopods, a class characterized by the fact that each pair of legs is carried by a body segment, the first carrying a pair of venom hooks called “forcipules”. She only uses it to defend herself when the first solution, which is to give off an unpleasant odor, does not work. It also uses it to capture its prey, which immobilizes itself once it has inoculated them with its venom.
In humans, the centipede can cause a edema with redness, reaction similar to a wasp sting which spontaneously subsides after 48 hours. A few rare people have an allergic reaction to the venom which will amplify the reaction. But know that the beast will prefer to flee when it sees you.
The name “scutigère” is made up of two Latin terms: scutum which means shield, and gero, which means to carry. He was given this name because his body is covered with a chitin exoskeleton that evokes a shield.
It has up to 600 small organs of vision, called “ocelli”, invisible to the naked eye which makes it difficult to distinguish between the front and the back of the insect when it is not moving forward. as much as its hind legs, longer than the others, resemble the antennae on the head.
Where is it found?
In France, the centipede is more frequently found in the Mediterranean regions. But it can be found in all regions.
Centipedes shy away from light but appreciate humid places. In natural environments, it is therefore under stones or bark, but also in the ground that they settle. In homes, you will see them in bathrooms and damp closets.
What do the centipedes of France eat?
They feed on insects and other small animals present in their environment. This means that it hunts spiders, flies and other small insects and their larvae such as mosquitoes, bedbugs, ants, cockroaches and silverfish. If you have seen swift scutigers, these other beasts are also present. Without food, no predator!
The centipede of France is therefore not harmful but simply inconvenient. He does not carry any disease, does not eat our food, does not destroy anything in the dwelling.
How to get rid of centipedes?
We must first reduce the rate ofhumidity your home by repairing leaking faucets, ventilating bathrooms and basements frequently, and using a dehumidifier if humidity is particularly high. Note that drying out a home also saves money because humid air requires more energy to heat it than dry air.
The other way to get rid of it is to reduce your pantry.
It is not an invasive insect and it is easy to deal with it.