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They are beneficial insects so killing them may not be necessary. If you have a garden, you can simply catch them and release them.
June 20, 2022
16 min read time
This information is reviewed by an independent pest control expert.
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When you hear the name “centipede”, you’d assume they have a pair of legs that total a hundred. However, centipedes can have between 20 to 150 legs, depending on the age and species.
They are creepy creatures that you wouldn’t want to have in your house.
If you’d like to know how to get rid of centipedes, then keep reading!
Table of Contents
You can easily confuse a centipede for a millipede due to their similarities such as shape and occurrence of legs. But there are some differences between them. One of the major differences between a centipede and a millipede is that centipedes eat bugs and the latter eats plants.
To be sure you have a centipede infestation, you need to be able to identify them first.
Centipedes have flat bodies and long legs. Their legs are broken into segments and they move pretty fast. They come in many colors, the most common being orange and brown.
Centipedes only grow a few inches long. On their heads, you will find two long antennae, which are of a very sensitive nature.
They can live outside but do not consume plants. They are carnivores that feast on other bugs like spiders and worms.
Their mouths are small and look like claws. It is filled with venom, which they use to paralyze their prey.
Centipedes can be seen as beneficial creatures, being that they help get rid of other pests. Yet, that doesn’t make them ideal visitors to have in your home.
They don’t attack humans unless provoked. Their bites cannot kill a person, but it is very painful. A centipede bite can cause itches and redness on the skin.
A centipede infestation shouldn’t cause an alarm, since they can be easily dealt with. As long as you understand what attracts them, getting rid of them will be easier.
Knowing how to get rid of centipedes is largely dependent on your knowledge of what attracts them into your house.
If you have centipedes in your home, then one or more of the factors below has attracted them.
Centipedes typically like damp environments, so if you have enough moisture in your house they may make their way to the damp spots. Leaking pipes in your kitchen and bathroom are major causes of indoor dampness.
Moisture around your home also attracts other bugs which serve as food for centipedes. The more reason they’ll explore any damp areas.
To get rid of dampness in your house, ensure you fix all leaking pipes and faucets. Also ventilate your house by keeping the windows open. Turning on the fan is another good way to maintain air circulation.
Centipedes like to live in dark and secluded areas, so you can find them around basements closets, leaf litter, attic, wall cracks, and other hidden corners of your home.
They can survive both outdoors and indoors, but if the weather conditions become unfavorable, they will seek shelter elsewhere. Preferably in your house.
As long as there are clusters of hiding spaces in your house, then centipedes can live in any one of them.
To prevent centipedes from entering your house, seal all the possible entry points. Patch up the wall cracks with caulk and install tightly woven mesh screens to keep them away.
Like all invading pests, food is one of the things that can draw them into your home. Anywhere there is a food source, pests will be found.
Being carnivorous creatures, centipedes feed on other bugs. This is good for your garden, but not for your house.
If you can find other pests in your house, then centipedes can come hunting. Roaches, spiders, bed bugs and flies are very common indoor pests. The more of them you have in your house, the more attracted the centipedes will be.
Getting rid of other pests in your house will significantly reduce the centipede population.
Basically, the search for food, water, and shelter will lead a centipede into your home if it provides all three.
Centipedes aren’t usually found in large numbers, they mostly move alone. This makes it easier to get rid of.
There are many centipede removal options. Some of the methods will kill the pests, while others will simply remove them.
Follow these tips to get rid of house centipedes.
1. Hand-pick Them
This is probably the best way to remove centipedes in your home. Simply pick them up when you find them and put them in a jar.
You can also throw them outside after you pick them up.
Placing them in your garden wouldn’t be such a bad idea, since there are other insects there which serve as food for them.
Centipedes don’t eat leaves, but many other garden pests do. So placing the centipedes you catch in your garden can help you get rid of plant-damaging pests.
Remember, centipedes can bite so you have to protect your hands as you pick. A pair of hard rubber gloves will do.
Also keep in mind that taking them to your garden doesn’t guarantee they won’t return back to your home. Your garden may provide adequate food for them, but harsh weather conditions may drive them back inside.
For effective centipede-picking, you can get your kids to join in. Especially when there are several centipedes scattered in different areas of your house.
You can turn it to a game, and whoever picks the most centipedes wins. Ensure that your kids have long rubber gloves on so they won’t be bitten as they pick.
This method of centipede removal is great if you are looking for a non-toxic means of eradication. It also helps you gather them up faster.
A vacuum cleaner can be used to scoop up centipedes in your house. All you have to do is go round the areas where they are lodged and suck them up.
Remember, centipedes can hide in tight corners so a mini vacuum would be ideal in such a case.
After they have been sucked away, you can put them along with all the other debris you have gathered into a sealable plastic bag and dump them in the outdoor trash bin.
It would be impossible for them to escape from the plastic bag as long as it is sealed.
3. Use Glue Traps
Glue traps can also be used to rid your home of centipedes. They are small cardboards that are dry on one side and sticky on the other.
They can be used to catch crawling bugs of all sorts, including roaches and spiders. You can get glue traps from a pest control store near you.
Place the traps around the areas of your house where the centipedes are mostly active. This would be under the kitchen sink, on your closet floor, and near the cracks in your walls.
As mentioned earlier, glue traps can also catch other crawlers, which can serve as bait to attract the centipedes to the trap.
You can have more than one trap for best results.
Place the traps around the areas where they usually crawl through. Be sure to take the traps away when it’s full.
4. Use Bowl Traps
A simple bowl trap can also be used to rid your place of centipedes. You can make this trap yourself using some common items.
Use these items to make your centipede trap.
• A glass bowl
• Some water
• Liquid soap
• Dead insects
Pour some water into the bowl until it is about a quarter full. Add some liquid soap to it and shake until the water becomes sticky and foamy.
Next step would be to add some bait. Dead roaches are big enough for a house centipede to easily spot so they are excellent baits.
Drop two or three roaches in the bowl and wait.
If the centipedes spot the floating roaches, they may enter the bowl to consume them. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be able to get out.
The thickness of the water will make it hard for them to move, and even if they get close to the glass, it would be too slippery for them to climb out.
Dead roaches aren’t hard to get. Your bug zapper can kill enough of them for you.
Place the bowls around the places where the centipedes are likely to visit for best results.
This method may seem gross, but if you don’t mind a bowl full of roaches, then it can work. You also have to be patient, as it may take time for the centipedes to spot the roaches.
If you are looking to kill the centipedes, using a chemical-based insecticide would be ideal. You can buy one from a pest control store.
Visit the places where they live and spray the insecticide across. The active ingredient in the spray will kill centipedes in minutes.
Take good precautionary measures before you spray. A chemical-based insecticide kills insects but it is also harmful to humans.
Make sure no one is in the room where you are spraying. You should also protect yourself from the spray. You can put on a pair of rubber gloves before you spray.
You should also protect your nose and mouth by putting on a facemask. This will keep you from inhaling the insecticide.
If you live with children or pets, store the spray can away from their reach.
6. Remove Food Sources
If there is food for the centipedes in your home then they will enter and remain there. Centipede food includes spiders, roaches, flies, worms, and pretty much every other insect they can get.
Vacuum your ceilings and remove spider webs to reduce the spider population. Also clear out your attic to reduce hiding spaces for other insects like roaches.
If you have a bug zapper, then there would be dead insects on the floor. You should vacuum them up too.
Maintaining a clean home will reduce the insect population in general. When there is less food in your home, the centipedes will be less interested in remaining there.
7. Reduce Dampness
Damp places are major attractants for centipedes. If there is a lot of moisture in your home, then the dampness will keep centipedes coming.
One of the major causes of indoor dampness is leaking pipes. If you have breaches in your pipes or faucets, then there will be standing water there.
The simple solution would be to have all leakages fixed. You can do that yourself or hire a plumber to do that for you.
You can also reduce dampness by practicing proper ventilation. Keep your windows and doors open to allow a good inflow of air.
Be warned though, open doors and windows are a passageway for centipedes and other invading pests. For this reason, it would be wise to install mesh screens by the windows and doors.
The screens should be tightly woven to keep both small and large pests out.
Turning on your fan will also help reduce room moisture.
Rid your home of dampness to reduce house centipedes.
8. Seal Cracks And Other Entrances
If you have cracks in your walls or ceiling, house centipedes can use those spaces to enter your home. Therefore you should inspect your building and check for possible entry points.
To keep centipedes away, you should seal all cracks with caulk or a cement mixture. If the cracks are in your wooden structures, then you can replace the old boards with new ones or nail a sealing board over the holes or cracks.
As we have discussed before, a house centipede and other pests can enter your home through the windows and doors. Since you need them open for ventilation, it would be wise to install mesh screens in front.
This will allow air to enter and prevent centipedes from coming into your home at the same time.
9. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is a natural substance that can be used to kill a house centipede. DE is a powdery substance that is jagged around the edges.
You can buy a box of DE and sprinkle the powder around the spaces where the house centipede is most likely to crawl along.
As they make their way across, the powder will be stuck to their legs and they will absorb it. Over time, the DE will suck out all their moisture and dry them up.
This natural remedy doesn’t work instantly, it may take days to kill the centipedes. But it works.
After applying the DE, be sure to go round your home in search of dead centipedes. Sweep up the ones you can find or vacuum them away.
The good thing about using DE to get rid of centipedes is that it is nontoxic. It cannot harm children or pets. It can’t damage the soil either so you can sprinkle some outside.
Other natural remedies you can try include vinegar, garlic, and cayenne pepper. One or more combinations of these natural substances can be sprinkled along the centipede’s crawl paths.
10. Call Pest Control
While many people prefer to get rid of house centipedes themselves, there are others who have a phobia for insects. If you’re one of such people, then you should call pest control to help you with your centipede problem.
This will cost you more than the DIY approach, but at least you’re sure the problem will be solved.
A professional pest service will first inspect inside your home to identify the places where they are most active. After which they will begin the extermination process.
They are experts so they will carry out the disinfestation in the safest manner possible. They will also educate you on the possible reasons why you have centipedes in your home and what you can do to prevent them from returning in the future.
Killing a house centipede has its advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on your unique situation and the method you use to kill them.
For instance, squashing will kill it, but it will also leave stains on your floor or wall. This can damage your paint or wallpaper so it’s a bad idea.
You can use insecticides or diatomaceous earth to kill centipedes. These methods wouldn’t leave any stains on your surfaces but will leave them dead.
After the centipedes have been killed, you will have to gather them up and dispose of.
Generally, killing house centipedes will ensure that the same ones don’t return. You can then take steps to prevent others from visiting.
For those who have gardens, killing a centipede may not be the best idea. This is because they can help you eliminate other insect pests in your garden.
Garden pests can destroy your plants by eating their leaves and damaging their roots. The good news is, centipedes eat garden pests, but not the plants.
Catch them without causing harm, then release them into your garden to help you control other insect pests.
The main disadvantage of putting the centipedes out is that they can return back into your home. Other than that, they can be useful in your yard.
House centipedes have no interest in attacking humans, as long as they are left alone. The thing is, they aren’t welcomed guests either so there will be contact between the house owner and the centipede.
They can bite when you try picking them up. They may also bite if you roll over them on your bed or couch.
If a centipede feels the need to defend Itself, then they will bite.
They are carnivorous creatures that have powerful jaws built for tearing insect flesh. Their bites can also cause pain to a person.
Besides the pain, they are loaded with venom which they use in paralyzing their prey before they eat them. While this venom isn’t powerful enough to paralyze a human, it can cause itches.
Their bites can also leave reddish marks on human skin and it can be quite painful. It could also cause allergic reactions to some people.
Don’t panic if you are bitten by a centipede, there are simple home remedies you can use to treat the bites.
The first would be an antibiotic. This can be used to prevent infections from the bite wound. There are other prescription drugs that can neutralize the effects of the venom. You can call your doctor immediately for recommendations.
For the pain, itching, and swelling, you can apply essential oils to the part of your body that was bitten. This will give give you some relief. Lavender and chamomile essential oils have soothing abilities.
You can also do a cold press to reduce the swelling. Just get an ice pack and press it against the bite.
Killing a centipede doesn’t necessarily attract others. It all depends on how you kill it and your method of disposal after they are killed.
If you squash a centipede, then the inner fluids will be splattered across the surface. Even if you remove the dead centipede, you still have to clean up the fluids. The internal fluids can attract other insect-eating creatures and centipedes.
If you kill a centipede using DE and leave it there, then other carnivorous insects would be attracted to it. Centipedes included.
Most carnivorous insects don’t mind eating dead insects, some even consume their own dead species.
After you have killed a centipede, make sure you properly dispose of it so the dead body won’t attract others.
Centipedes don’t usually occur in large numbers so don’t expect to see many of them inside your home.
However, they can bite humans if they feel threatened. Their bites are hard and it carries venom, which can’t kill humans, but can cause pain or itches.
There are many ways to handle a centipede infestation, as we have already discussed.
They are beneficial insects so killing them may not be necessary. If you have a garden, you can simply catch them and release them into your vegetation to help you get rid of destructive pest insects.
If you have a phobia of insects and don’t want to come close to them, you can call a professional service to help you with your centipede problem.
Hopefully, this article on how to get rid of centipedes has been helpful.
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