Many people make the mistake of calling a centipede an insect. Even I used to do that, until I came across some facts which I would like to share with you. After going through these interesting facts, you will know why they are, in fact, not insects.
Don't Call Me An Insect!
I am sure most of you have seen centipedes, either at a corner of your home or in your garden. They have an elongated, flat body, having several segments with one pair of legs attached to each one. The number of legs of centipedes may vary from 15 to 181. They also have a pair of antennae. They are predators, i.e., they feed on other insects and invertebrates. When they suspect danger, they usually run for cover, or deliver a painful and venomous bite. But not to worry, the stinging bite can be treated and it's not that poisonous to humans. You will find them in temperate and tropical areas, mainly under rocks or among debris, as they prefer staying in moist areas.
So, why are centipedes not considered insects? This is because of several reasons. First, they are the distant relatives of lobsters, crayfish, and shrimp. I am sure none of you will call them insects, will you? They belong to the group of Arthropods. They have a segmented body, and belong to the Chilopoda class, not to the Insecta class. Unlike other insects, they have a long, segmented body, and their body is not divided into the head, thorax, and abdomen. Insects also have three pairs of legs, one for each section. This is one major reason why we cannot call centipedes insects, as they have more than 6 legs and more than 6 sections.
Getting Rid of Centipedes
Centipedes may not be insects, and usually do not act as a pest in our homes, but since they prefer dark and damp areas, you will find them mainly at the corner of your bathroom, or in your basement, or worse, on your bed. That can be scary! Also, if, by accident, a centipede does bite you, the bite is not fatal but you may get some side effects, like fevers and chills. So it is best that you know how to get rid of these arthropods. For those of us who won't like to kill them, they can either pick the creature up with a tissue, and leave it in the garden.
Also, since they prefer moist and dark places, make sure that every corner in your house is dry. Centipedes also love to feed on insects like cockroaches and flies. So, make sure that your house is absolutely free of them. An absence of prey results in an absence of predators. You can also use sticky traps and set it up in areas where these insects―oops, sorry!―these arthropods, exist. You can also block their entry paths, i.e., cracks in walls, floor drains, windows, etc. You can also use screens on your windows to prevent them from coming in that way. If none works, then the best way to get rid of them is by calling pest control.
So, haven't you learned something new today? Next time you see a centipede, 'insect' is not what will come to your mind!