Skip to Content

Do house centipedes not like light?

House centipedes, also known as Scutigera coleoptrata, are common arthropods that can be found in many homes. They are elongated insects with long, delicate legs, allowing them to move very quickly across floors, walls, and ceilings. House centipedes are nocturnal and avoid light, leading many homeowners to wonder: do house centipedes not like light?

Do House Centipedes Avoid Light?

Yes, house centipedes tend to avoid light and are considered nocturnal creatures. Here’s why:

– House centipedes lack pigment in their eyes, making them sensitive to bright light. Prolonged exposure can damage their vision.

– They prefer to hunt and search for food at night when their prey is also active. House centipedes feast on spiders, silverfish, cockroaches, and other household pests which also avoid light.

– During the day, house centipedes prefer to take shelter and rest in dark, damp areas like under furniture, piles of clothes, cracks and crevices, unfinished basements, closets, or bathrooms. Bright light can dry them out.

– While not completely blind, house centipedes rely on their long, sensitive antennae and legs to detect vibrations and navigate their environment when it is dark.

So in summary, house centipedes avoid light because their eyes are sensitive to it, they hunt nocturnal prey, and they need dark, humid areas to take shelter during the day. Their legs and antennae help them find their way even in complete darkness.

Do House Centipedes Come Out in Light?

House centipedes are largely nocturnal and come out at night to hunt and search for food. However, they can sometimes be seen during the day, especially if:

– They are disturbed from their hiding spaces by loud noises, movements, or humans vacuuming.

– Their humid shelter becomes too hot and dry, forcing them out into the open to search for water and moisture.

– There is a lack of food. If the house centipede cannot find enough prey at night, it may venture out during the day out of hunger.

– Indoors lighting is low or limited. House centipedes will avoid rooms with bright lights but can wander through rooms with dim lighting.

So while house centipedes prefer darkness, they can emerge during daylight hours in response to environmental factors like heat, lack of food, or disturbance. Quick flashes of light or moving lights may also startle them out of hiding.

Are House Centipedes Nocturnal?

Yes, house centipedes are considered nocturnal creatures. Here are some key reasons why house centipedes are adapted for nighttime activity:

– They have poor eyesight but very sensitive antennae to detect vibrations and movement in the dark.

– During the day, house centipedes take shelter in dark, humid areas to rest. They cannot survive long in bright, dry conditions.

– House centipedes have pale, yellowish coloration to camouflage themselves at night while hunting.

– They hunt nocturnal spiders, silverfish, crickets, cockroaches, and carpet beetle larvae which also come out at night.

– Increased nighttime activity helps them avoid larger daytime predators like birds, rodents, and reptiles.

– House centipedes are fast and agile in the dark when hunting prey or fleeing predators. Their legs propel them rapidly across floors and up walls.

So the house centipede’s physical traits, prey preferences, and need to avoid daytime predators all point to their adaptation as nocturnal hunters that take advantage of darkness.

Do House Centipedes Come Out in the Day?

House centipedes prefer to rest and remain hidden during daylight hours. However, they may occasionally be active during the day if:

– Their daytime hiding places become too hot, bright, or dry. This forces them to seek new shelter.

– Vibrations from people walking or loud noises disturb their rest. The house centipedes will flee the hiding spot in search of new shelter.

– Cool and humid weather provides shade and moisture. House centipedes are more tolerant of daylight conditions when humidity is high.

– There is a lack of nocturnal prey. Hungry house centipedes may venture out during daylight to search for any food source.

– Indoor lighting is low or limited. House centipedes will reluctantly traverse rooms with low lighting if needed.

So while not typical behavior, house centipedes can sometimes emerge during daylight hours in response to environmental factors. But they will immediately seek to get back into dark, hidden shelter.

Signs of House Centipede Activity During the Day

Though unusual, there are some signs that house centipedes may be active in your home during daytime hours:

– Catching brief glimpses of house centipedes scurrying across open floors, walls, countertops, or doorframes when entering rooms during the day.

– Finding them hiding behind furniture, boxes, clothing piles, or shelves when cleaning during daylight. The daytime disturbance causes them to flee their shelter.

– Noticing their distinctive tan, worm-like shapes if they crawl across lightly colored floors, walls, or sinks in rooms with dim but not dark lighting.

– Hearing a faint rustling noise if they scrabble across papers, cardboard, or leaves during the day. The house centipede’s dozen or more legs make soft scraping sounds on debris.

– Finding their droppings in unexpected places in rooms if they have recently traveled through the area. The droppings look like small black or brown dots.

– Seeing their legs or antennae peeking out from cracks, crevices, or gaps in walls and doorframes as they try to avoid light and find shelter.

If you notice any of these signs, house centipedes may be active in your home during daylight hours when they would normally be hiding and resting.

Why Might House Centipedes Come Out During the Day?

Though unusual, there are several reasons why house centipedes may risk venturing out into the light and open during daylight hours:

– Seeking moisture and cooler shelters if their hiding spots become too hot and dry due to sunlight, radiators, or heating vents.

– Disturbance from noises or human activities force them to leave their shelters prematurely to seek new hiding spots.

– Lack of food from nighttime hunting drives them to search more widely for prey during the day.

– Indoors areas with low lighting allow them to move from room to room while avoiding bright light somewhat.

– Nearby outdoor moist areas like gardens, mulch beds, and pools provide shade and humidity if they exit the home.

– Construction, painting, decorating, or other disruptive indoor activities force them out as daytime hiding spots are removed.

– Small cracks or openings allow unexpected light into their nighttime harborages, causing them to flee and find new shelter.

House centipedes prefer darkness but can be driven into daylight conditions due to environmental factors, hunger, or disturbance from people. They will quickly return to dark hiding spots given the chance.

Do House Centipedes Run Away from Light?

Yes, due to their light sensitivity, house centipedes will immediately run away and flee from bright light sources. Here is how they react when light suddenly shines on them:

– If resting in a dark shelter and exposed to bright light, house centipedes will immediately bolt at surprising speed, running as fast as 1.3 feet per second. Their dozens of legs propel them rapidly across floors or up walls.

– They reflexively run towards the closest dark shelter to hide like under furniture, behind boxes, beneath rugs or towels, inside closet corners, or through gaps into wall voids.

– If light is flashed at them in open areas, house centipedes will first freeze briefly in place before choosing the fastest direct escape route back into darkness.

– As house centipedes lack strong vision, they rely on their antennae to detect air currents and drafts that may lead back to shadowy harborage sites.

– Their pale yellowish coloring helps camouflage them against floors and walls as they scramble back into dark hiding spots away from threatening light exposure.

– Though fast in short bursts, prolonged light and dryness will dehydrate and weaken house centipedes until they can reach shelter suitable for recuperation.

So house centipedes instinctively flee from light using their rapid speed and seek immediate refuge in the closest accessible dark, humid area where they can rest safely.

Do House Centipedes Come Out at Night?

Yes, house centipedes are most actively hunting, moving, and searching for food during nighttime hours. Here’s why house centipedes prefer to come out at night:

– Their nocturnal insect prey like spiders, silverfish, roaches, and pantry pests are also most active after dark.

– Low light helps camouflage their pale yellow-brown bodies while hunting.

– Their poor vision is adapted for low light, so they can navigate easily in darkness.

– Cooler nighttime temperatures increase their mobility and activity levels.

– The cover of darkness provides protection from larger daytime predators.

– Less risk of dehydration at night versus being caught in daylight.

– They can search more openly without fleeing from light exposure.

So the ideal time for house centipedes to hunt, scavenge, move around, and search for mates or ideal shelter is during nighttime when conditions suit their adaptations and prey availability is highest.

What Rooms Do House Centipedes Go In at Night?

At night, house centipedes are most likely to enter and move through certain rooms in a home when hunting or traveling based on environmental factors:


The kitchen provides food particles and moisture that attract cockroaches, spiders, and other insect prey. House centipedes will hunt here at night.


Bathrooms have high humidity and plumbing voids where house centipedes can hide and search for silverfish.

Basements and Laundry Rooms

Unfinished basements with cracks, piles of storage, and laundry rooms have ideal cool, damp conditions for house centipedes.

Dining Rooms

Dropped food can attract prey like carpet beetle larvae and crickets to dining rooms.

Bedrooms and Living Rooms

Bedrooms near sleeping humans are risky, but living rooms may be frequented at night by house centipedes hunting spiders and rodent prey.

So house centipedes are most likely to be active at night in rooms with moisture, food particles, unfinished voids, laundry, and prey availability.

How to Deter House Centipedes from Rooms

To deter nighttime house centipede activity in certain rooms, try these tactics:

– Install door sweeps or screens to block gaps under doors and windows they use as entry points.

– Apply weather stripping around door and window frames to seal out house centipedes.

– Caulk or seal cracks, voids, and openings on walls, floors, and ceilings that they crawl through.

– Install lighting motion sensors that will suddenly turn on lights if house centipedes enter that room.

– Place sticky traps or glue boards along walls, under appliances, or behind furniture at night to catch house centipedes in that room.

– Use special night lights that give off wavelengths house centipedes dislike at night.

– Keep rooms clean and dry with minimal clutter to reduce prey availability.

– Use desiccant dusts like diatomaceous earth to make areas uncomfortable for house centipedes.

Deterring house centipede entry and movement at night requires sealing off rooms, using lights and traps, and keeping areas clean and dry.

What Attracts House Centipedes at Night?

Certain conditions will attract active house centipedes into a room at night:

– Availability of prey like spiders, silverfish, cockroaches, and pantry pests which they hunt after dark.

– High humidity from kitchens, bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms, and damp crawlspaces.

– Cool temperatures under 70°F which allow them to be more mobile.

– Cracks, crevices, and openings they can use to crawl through walls and squeeze beneath doors.

– Clutter pile-ups and storage areas where they can take temporary harbor during nightly roams.

– Rodent or bird pet food left out at night provides prey like insects and worms.

– Night lights or other low-level lighting that doesn’t deter them while hunting in darker corners.

– Moisture from leaks, condensation, or plumbing issues provides needed humidity.

The ideal conditions for a house centipede during nocturnal activity involve prey availability, high humidity, cool temperatures, and entry points into that space.

Nighttime House Centipede Habits

Understanding the nighttime habits and behaviors of house centipedes can help explain their after-dark activities:

– Venturing from daytime harborages at sundown when senses adjust to dim lighting.

– Using antennae and legs to navigate rooms by detecting air currents and vibrations.

– Hunting insects and other arthropods by sensing movements and seizing them with spiny legs.

– Scavenging small bits of discarded food for nutrients.

– Seeking water sources to replenish moisture.

– Searching for mates by leaving pheromone trails and sensing reproductive scents.

– Depositing eggs in humid crevices lined with food sources.

– Crawling through new rooms and spaces to scout ideal harborage options.

– Retreating around sunrise back to daytime hiding and resting places.

Understanding their sheltering, hunting, reproducing, and exploratory behaviors at night provides insights into detecting and controlling house centipedes.

Do House Centipedes Avoid Night Lights?

Small night lights and dim lighting will not necessarily deter house centipedes since their vision is so poor. However, certain night light tricks can help repel them:

– Place night lights that emit UV wavelengths in centipede prone areas. The light is invisible to humans but discomforts centipedes.

– Use bulbs that pulse and fluctuate in brightness, creating patterns of light disruption that may deter centipedes.

– Position bright night lights pointing directly at prime entry points like door gaps or foundation cracks. This forces exposure as they pass through.

– Night lights along high-traffic baseboards, under appliances, and behind furniture may help expose centipedes, making them flee the area.

– Set timed, motion-activated night lights to suddenly switch on if centipedes are detected, startling them.

– Avoid incandescent or yellow wavelength bulbs which offer dim ambiance centipedes can navigate easily.

While regular night lights won’t repel house centipedes, strategic wavelengths, placements, bulbs, and settings can help target and disrupt them at night when they’re active.


In summary, house centipedes are strongly averse to light due to their adaptation to nocturnal habits. They rely on darkness to hunt, navigate their environment, and find safe daytime shelter spaces. While house centipedes prefer to stay hidden during daylight hours, environmental factors like heat, humidity, or disturbance can occasionally drive them out into the open temporarily. But nighttime is peak activity time when house centipedes venture out to feed and roam more freely under the cover of darkness. Understanding their light avoidance helps homeowners use strategic lighting placements, wavelengths, and settings to target, expose, and repel house centipedes at night when they are most active.