Everything You Need to Know About House Centipedes and Silverfish

As a homeowner, there’s nothing more disturbing than seeing a leggy insect scurry across the floor or up the wall of your house. But what is it and what should you do about it? In the Midwest, two of the most common culprits we see at Snowball Pest Control are house centipedes and silverfish, but what exactly are they, how are they different, and when is it time to call in the professionals.

What Do House Centipedes and Silverfish Look Like?

Though these pests look similar, there are some key differences between them can help you identify exactly which one you’re dealing with. Here are the key differences in their appearance:

  • Size: house centipedes are much larger than silverfish. While centipedes can reach up to 1.5 inches in length, silverfish are never more than ½ an inch long. House centipedes are also thicker with rounded bodies while silverfish have flatter bodies that make them appear wider.
  • Color: House centipedes are tan or light brown in color with banded bodies that give them a striped appearance. Silverfish, on the other hand, are silver or gray in color (hence their name) and are shiny, giving them a wet look.
  • Legs: Like all true insects, silverfish have six legs and three body segments. House centipedes, however, have many more than that. Centipedes can have as many as 30 legs and multiple body segments, making it easy to distinguish them from other pests.

Are House Centipedes or Silverfish Dangerous?

The answer here is a little muddled and depends on your definition of “dangerous.” While house centipedes can bite, they rarely do and their bite isn’t venomous. Their bite is about the same intensity as a bee sting, without the lingering venom.

Silverfish, on the other hand, do not bite. They do, however, feed on natural fibers such as paper and fabrics, making them a hazard to your belongings.

Where Do They Live?

Both house centipedes and silverfish prefer similar habitats. They both like dark areas like basements and attics that are moist or high in humidity. They can also be found in bathrooms and kitchens—especially under sinks or near drains—as these are often high-moisture spaces as well.

How to Eliminate Silverfish and House Centipedes

You may be temped to try at-home DIY treatments such as boric acid or diatomaceous earth, but these applications only work on direct contact with pests. Because both centipedes and silverfish can hide in even the smallest of crevices, they are notoriously hard to treat with direct applications.

Instead, call the professional pest control team at Snowball Pest Control to address the issue. Our team will go over options and help you decide on the best course of treatment, dependent on the size and scope of the infestation.

Schedule a Free Inspection Today

Call Snowball Pest Control today at (859) 635-7793 to schedule your free inspection. We’ll evaluate your home and devise a strategy to eliminate existing pests while also preventing future infestations.