The life cycle of a centipede has three stages: egg, nymph and adult. Centipedes molt multiple times during the nymph stage and gain new sets of legs with each molt. The growth process takes two to three years, and centipedes live for up to six years.

Centipedes reproduce year-round in areas with warm climates, but in temperate regions they only reproduce during the warmer months. They hibernate underground throughout the winter, and they do not reproduce during this time. When not hibernating, centipedes require a warm, dark and moist environment.

Outdoor centipedes live in dark, damp habitats such as under stones and inside fallen logs. House centipedes live in damp basements, closets and bathrooms. All varieties of centipede remain hidden during daylight hours and emerge to feed at night. The most effective way to control a household centipede population is to take away their food sources and damp habitats.

Centipedes feed on insects, including household pests. They do not damage furniture or plants, and house centipedes are often beneficial for pest control. While they are venemous, their venom is not sufficient to harm a human. The largest species of centipedes are capable of biting humans; however, the effects of the bite are minor and include only swelling, pain, discoloration or numbness at the site of the wound.