Centipedes are among the creepiest of all creepy-crawlies that have so far been discovered by man. In other regions of the world, such as Asia and South America, centipedes can become excessively large and extremely dangerous, as centipedes produce and transmit venom into their prey and into the human bloodstream. Centipedes are neither insects nor arachnids; instead, both centipedes and millipedes belong to the chilopoda class of arthropods. Centipedes are not often spotted by Massachusetts residents, but there exists several documented centipede species in the state, some of which are potentially dangerous. The most well known centipede species that is commonly found within Massachusetts homes is the common house centipede. While house centipedes may be unsightly, fast-moving and generally unpleasant in every way, at least they are not capable of using their mouthparts to puncture human skin. Of course, the house centipede is not the only centipede species that is known for appearing within Massachusetts homes.

The Hemiscolopendra marginata centipede species’ habitat is largely limited to forested areas of Massachusetts, but they are known for sometimes making their way into residential homes, especially homes that are located near wooded and aquatic areas. This species is probably the largest centipede species that exists within Massachusetts, as they grow to be around three inches in length. This species bright blue exterior makes them easy to spot within yards and wild areas, but they also travel long distances within soil where they cannot be seen. When these centipedes enter homes, experts recommend that specimens be safely captured and placed outdoors, as they help to keep insect pest populations in check. However, it is important to note that these centipedes can inflict extremely painful venomous bites that can cause pain for days. In some cases, medical attention is sought following a bite. Bark centipedes are also abundant in Massachusetts woodlands, but these centipedes appear in homes more often than the H. marganita species. These bright red centipedes are sometimes found in cellars, basements and sheds. These centipedes inflict venomous, painful and medically significant bites if they are handled, so professional assistance may be necessary upon finding a bark centipede within your home or property.

Have you ever spotted a large centipede or millipede species within a home before?