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What do house centipede babies look like?

House centipedes are common insects that live in damp areas inside homes. While adult house centipedes have a distinctive appearance, many homeowners wonder what house centipede babies look like. Understanding the life cycle and appearance of house centipede babies can help homeowners identify an infestation.

What does a house centipede look like?

Adult house centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) are fast-moving arthropods with long, segmented bodies. They have 15 pairs of legs with the last pair nearly twice as long as the body. House centipedes are yellowish-gray in color with three dark stripes running down the top of the body. They have two antennae and two long appendages near the rear. An adult house centipede can reach 1-1 1⁄2 inches in length when fully grown.

House centipede life cycle

Like all arthropods, house centipedes undergo a simple metamorphosis with three life stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Female house centipedes lay between 60 to 70 eggs at a time, usually in damp, protected areas. The eggs are initially a creamy white color but darken over time. They are around 2 mm in size and oval in shape.

After 7 to 200 days, the eggs hatch into larval centipedes. These newly hatched nymphs resemble tiny versions of the adults with less-developed legs. They are translucent in color. House centipede nymphs molt and grow additional legs with each successive instar (stage between molts). There are a total of 5 to 6 instars before reaching full maturity.

It takes anywhere from 1 to 3 years for house centipede nymphs to become full adults. Once mature, the average lifespan is an additional 1 to 6 years. Females can reproduce for up to 5 years and lay multiple egg clutches in her lifetime.

Appearance of house centipede babies

Newly hatched house centipede nymphs are less than 6 mm (0.25 inches) long. They have translucent white bodies with reddish-brown stripes forming down the back. The legs are short and not fully segmented yet. At this stage, nymphs only have around 6 to 8 pairs of legs. They will gain more legs and body segments with each successive molting stage.

Here are some key facts about newborn house centipede babies:

  • Size: Less than 6 mm
  • Color: Translucent white body with reddish stripes
  • Legs: 6 to 8 pairs of unsegmented legs
  • Body: Fewer body segments
  • Antennae: Shorter antennae

Within a few weeks after hatching, the nymphs will molt into their second instar. At this stage, the body darkens to a pale yellow and the legs elongate and become more defined. The legs will have separated into segments. The number of legs increases to around 10 to 12 pairs. Nymphs at this stage are closer to 10 mm long.

Differences from adult house centipedes

While house centipede babies resemble tiny adults, there are some key physical differences between the nymphs and mature centipedes:


Newly hatched nymphs are less than 1⁄4 inch in length. Adults can reach 1 1⁄2 inches long.

Number of legs

Nymphs have 6 to 8 pairs of legs at first. Adults have 15 pairs of legs.


The nymph’s body is translucent white. The adult’s body is yellowish-gray.


Nymphs have reddish stripes on the back. Adults have very defined dark stripes.


Nymph’s legs and body segments are under-developed compared to mature house centipedes.

House Centipede Nymph Adult House Centipede
Size Less than 0.25 inches 1 to 1.5 inches
Number of legs 6 to 8 pairs 15 pairs
Color Translucent white body Yellowish-gray body
Markings Reddish stripes Very defined dark stripes
Development Legs and body underdeveloped Full segmented legs and body

Behavior of young house centipedes

The behavior of house centipede babies is similar to the adults. They are quick-moving and prefer to stay hidden in cracks and crevices. Young nymphs tend to stay close to where they hatched until after the first molt. They will then forage further from the nesting site.

House centipede nymphs hunt small prey including:

  • Mites
  • Beetle larvae
  • Fly eggs
  • Small worms
  • Newly hatched spiders

Young house centipedes are vulnerable to being eaten by spiders, ants, beetles, and larger centipedes. They will flee rapidly from light and motion to avoid predators.

Habits of house centipede babies

House centipede nymphs share similar habitats and habits as adult centipedes. Here is some general information on where they live and their behaviors:

Places they are found

  • In soil and leaf litter outside
  • Under rocks, logs, and mulch in gardens
  • Cracks and crevices in foundations
  • Spaces under doors and siding
  • Inside basements and crawlspaces

Hiding spots

  • In piles of firewood and lumber
  • Under furniture and boxes
  • Behind peeling wallpaper
  • Cracks in concrete
  • Openings around pipes and drains


  • Nocturnal habits – most active at night
  • Move quickly when disturbed
  • Curl up into a tight ball when threatened
  • Flee from light
  • Make scrabbling noises when running
  • Can jump several inches high
  • Savage hunters and will attack large prey

Signs of a house centipede infestation

Seeing one or two house centipedes occasionally in a home is normal. But an infestation may be present if large numbers are sighted regularly. Signs that a house centipede infestation has taken hold include:

  • Spotting 3 or more adult centipedes daily
  • Noticing groups of small nymphs
  • Centipedes in infrequently used parts of home
  • Moisture issues or rotting wood evident
  • Other insects centipedes prey on present
  • Centipede egg casings visible

The presence of house centipede nymphs indicates the centipedes are reproducing and breeding within the home. Even a few nymphs spotted likely means there are more developing out of sight.

Getting rid of house centipedes

The presence of house centipede nymphs means there is a source of food drawing the centipedes inside and providing breeding conditions. Addressing factors that allow centipedes to thrive is key to reducing the population.

Here are some tips for centipede control and prevention:

  • Remove debris and rotting wood around the foundation
  • Seal cracks and openings on exterior walls
  • Repair leaks and water damage
  • Install dehumidifiers to maintain 40-45% indoor humidity
  • Clean gutters and direct drainage away from home
  • Vacuum and eliminate other household pests
  • Use desiccant dusts in wall voids and crawl spaces
  • Apply boric acid powder along baseboards

Insecticide sprays and traps generally aren’t effective against house centipedes. Contact a pest control professional if you need help eliminating a severe infestation.


House centipede nymphs look like tiny, underdeveloped versions of the adults with translucent bodies and short legs. They are found in the same damp, hidden spaces and have similar behaviors. An infestation may be present if groups of nymphs and multiple adults are regularly seen. Correcting conditions that allow centipedes to thrive and integrating pest management practices are the best ways to control populations.