This article seeks to discuss silverfish and house centipedes by making comparisons. If you have difficulties making the distinction between silverfish and centipedes, you’ll find this article very useful.

There’s always a mix-up when trying to tell silverfish apart from house centipedes. This is rightly so because there are similarities between the two. Also, these two (silverfish and centipedes) can be scary for most people.

A lot of people will cringe at the sight of these two.

Are Centipedes and House Centipedes the same?

Before we proceed, it’s necessary to clear your doubts about centipede types. Here, a mention has been made about the house centipedes. Some readers may easily confuse the centipede with the house centipede.

We must state here that there’s a difference between the two.

Although both go by the name centipedes, the house centipede is simply a centipede species that are mostly associated with human dwellings.

In other words, you’ll mostly find the house centipedes in homes, hence the name “house” centipede.

This distinction is necessary to clarify any grey areas before getting into the main topic of discussion.

As we go on, you’ll learn about the behavior of the house centipede in terms of damage caused, how it differs from the silverfish and where it’s mostly located in homes, etc.

Silverfish Vs House Centipede: Problems Caused

Both silverfish and house centipedes are known to cause problems for people. However, these problems differ between the two. Silverfish are easily considered pests with lots of damage being left in their wake.

For house centipedes, their stings are what a lot of people will rather avoid.

These can all be classified as pest problems as long as you don’t want them around. Now, it will be necessary to give a rundown of problems presented by both silverfish and house centipedes.

  • Silverfish

These pests can be creepy and cause lots of problems. Common problems include food contamination, invite other pests around (a lot of critters prey on silverfish, and will come around for a feast wherever they find them).

You may find earwigs, spiders, house centipedes, and carpet beetles among the many silverfish predators.  Additional problems caused by silverfish include their look which can be very unnerving for most people.

A lot of persons will freak out when they find silverfish headed in their direction. Such stress and unease can be eliminated by getting rid of these creatures.

Damage is another common associated with silverfish presence.

These pests will cause significant damage to personal property. Because they feed on starch, they easily target foods, tapestries, magazines, books, pictures, wallpapers, and clothing among other things. This is very worrisome as almost every possession you have is easily targeted by them.

More problems include food contamination, allergies, and asthma,

You’ll need to stop or contain a silverfish infestation as early as possible. Without such urgency, the problem becomes even worse!

  • Nutrition

The silverfish mostly feeds on a wide range of organic matter and also fungal molds. Silverfish prefer diets having high starch content. These are readily available in items such as natural fabrics, wallpaper, and book bindings.

Other items considered food by centipedes include flour, cardboard starches, rolled oats, insulation, and glue. This makes your home a prime target for silverfish activity.

You’ll also find these creatures feeding on vegetables, grains, sugars, and a wide variety of protein-rich items. Due to what they feed on, it’s only normal that they’ll be seen as a nuisance in homes.

  • House Centipedes

House centipedes come into your home in search of prey. Funny enough, this includes silverfish among others.

Ordinarily, this should sound great and welcoming for many. However, the problem arises when they cross paths with humans. House centipedes are likely to sting you.

Such painful stings contain venom which has the potential to cause a variety of problems. These begin as symptoms that include local bleeding, nausea, and vomiting as well as severe pain.

Additional house centipede sting symptoms include skin necrosis, swelling and redness of the bite area, racing pulse or palpitations, and swollen lymph nodes.

All these are problems you should avoid as much as you can. You’re better off without house centipedes than with them.

  • Nutrition

This is where a lot of people get mixed feelings regarding house centipede presence in homes. While some consider it a pest to not have around, others think otherwise. House centipedes feed on a variety of bugs and insects considered as pests in homes.

Examples of insects preyed on by house centipedes include termites, flies, small spiders, moths, roaches, spiders, crickets, earwigs, and even silverfish. So, why be worried about ridding your home of house centipedes when there’s a clear benefit of having them around?

At some point, house centipedes may be considered a nuisance when their number increases. Having these crawling around isn’t a pretty sight. Sometimes, house centipedes may get crushed which will require cleaning up the area.

Where They Hide: Differences

Silverfish and house centipedes are both nocturnal creatures; meaning these won’t be readily seen during the daytime. They are shy creatures that come out to feed at night. Sometimes, turning on the light should reveal these pests scurrying away.

As expected, their many legs enable them to move quickly. These two (silverfish and house centipedes) move fast. This brings up the question about where they nest or stay. If you suspect silverfish or house centipede presence, consider inspecting moist or damp areas of your home.

Such areas in most homes include the laundry room(s) kitchen areas, bathroom areas as well as basements.

Why Are Both Found in The Same Environments?

Recall we earlier said that predators are attracted to prey and will visit areas where these are readily available. The same applies to both silverfish and house centipedes.

House centipedes will readily prey on silverfish and will always be found wherever they are.


Although both silverfish and house centipedes have some similarities, certain features are distinctive and can easily be used to differentiate them. It’s important to be able to identify them whenever you stumble across either.

Being able to properly identify both will help you choose the most appropriate treatment to apply.

  • Silverfish

With a silver-gray coloring, these pests (mature) measure anywhere from one-quarter to one-half inch long.

One of their striking features includes long appendages which measure as long as their body length. Additional features include 2 long antennae on the head and three bristles which come out of the abdomen area.

What more? Silverfish have flat, soft, and oval bodies. All of these features are easily identifiable. You can clearly pick these out from other similar creatures by focusing on the features provided.

  • House Centipedes

True to their name, centipedes possess lots of legs.

These add up to about 15 pairs (30 legs). Mature house centipedes should measure anywhere between 1 to 1.5 inches long. Male and females have different sizes with females being longer at 3 inches.

Another feature that makes it easy to identify house centipedes is their color which ranges from yellowish to light brown.

  • Do House Centipedes Bite?

One of the things most people are concerned about is whether a house centipede presence poses any danger. Now, these crawling creatures possess venoms with which they using in killing prey.

In rare cases, these may bite humans, but their bites aren’t strong enough to break your skin.

Even when bites do break the skin, the reaction is very mild and goes away within a short time. Some house centipede bites even go unnoticed.

For Many, House Centipedes are More Tolerable than Silverfish

As mentioned earlier, both of these creatures are mostly found in homes. However, a lot of people will prefer having house centipedes around than silverfish due to obvious reasons.

Silverfish hardly provide any form of benefit as they’re mostly known to cause damage.

With house centipedes around, you have greater control over bug presence. Plus, house centipedes will help reduce the silverfish population in your home.

Seek Help

When you notice an infestation, you can proceed to tackle such a problem by seeking help. This can be done in many ways which including adopting DIY pest control strategies as well as calling pest control services.

Getting some expert advice on how to manage silverfish and house centipede presence in your home will be a great idea. With such, you’re able to take effective measures in resolving any issues that may arise.

The least stressful option among the two involves calling an experienced pest control technician. These professionals know where to look and how best to get rid of both silverfish and house centipedes.

You May Want to Call for Pest Control If…

If you’ve noticed silverfish and house centipede presence around your home, you may decide to call for help when there are kids around. Kids find these creatures scary and will often react by crying.

Despite the benefits of house centipedes, you may have to call for its removal or control for the sake of your kids.

You want to make your home surroundings less hostile to your kid by removing any perceived danger. Apart from that, the mere sight of these creatures crawling around your home isn’t a pretty one.

This may be reason enough for a homeowner to call for their elimination.

In a bid to address property damage, it’s necessary to have silverfish eliminated. Unfortunately, most treatments affect house centipedes as well.

Comparing Preventive Measures

You may want to look at the causes of silverfish and house centipede presence. While silverfish seek areas with ample sources of food, house centipedes are attracted to silverfish activity and prey on them.

Therefore, your best bet is to eliminate and remove all possible food sources for silverfish.

What more? Proper storage of clothing and sealing leaky water pipes may prove effective. To reduce dampness, you may want to consider using dehumidifiers for this purpose.


There’s often confusion between silverfish and house centipedes due to their almost identical appearance.

Both of these are found in homes and cause all sorts of problems in terms of damage. It may be argued that the house centipede is beneficial in that it kills other pests such as roaches etc.

We’ve discussed the nature and behavior of both creatures.

By now, you should have no problems distinguishing between silverfish and house centipedes.

We’ve also compared and contrasted the differences and similarities of silverfish and centipedes. With this knowledge, you get a better idea of their behavior, what to do when faced with their presence, and so on.

Key physical features of silverfish and house centipedes have been identified in this article.

Apart from these, we’ve also discussed the problems caused by both pests, what they feed on, and their habitats. All of these are central to carrying out appropriate control measures.

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