Do you know that there are around 2,000 different types of centipedes? Luckily, nearly all of them live outdoors. However, some species of centipedes like to dwell in the confines of home. In this brief guide, we are going to explain in detail how you can get rid of house centipedes.
What are house centipedes?
As the name suggests, this species of centipedes loves to spend most of its time in homes. It is crucial to distinguish these insects from the rest. Most house centipedes have a yellow body with hints of grayish tones. The body is composed of three dark stripes that extend all the way back to their back. A house centipede is around 1-1.5 inches. However, it appears larger due to its unusually long legs. Lastly, it has a pair of antenna feelers.
The origins of house centipedes have been traced to Europe. From Europe, house centipedes moved to other continents and gradually made their way into American homes. Don’t underestimate these creatures. Their eyesight is considered sharper than other centipedes.
Where can you find them?
While house centipedes can reside anywhere in your home, they have a liking for wet and humid areas of your dwelling. These include closets, bathrooms, houseplants, gardens, cellars, basements, the attic, and other humid areas in your home.
Given the right conditions and temperature, you might be looking at a nasty infestation. Most centipedes breed during the warm months of spring. In this season, a typical female centipede lays around 35 eggs. In the world of insects, 35 is not a large number at all. However, the exponential growth of these younglings can put your home in trouble.
Some of the other places in which you can find house centipedes are kitchen cabinets, faucets, and bedrooms. Usually, they come out of hiding in the fall and spring season.
How do they behave?
At nighttime, house centipedes go for hunting. They feast on spiders, larvae, and different types of insects. A house centipede has a life span of six years. When it comes to mating, the male centipede picks up an area where the female can lay the eggs.
These centipedes are known for their reclusive behavior. Despite their small size, they can run as fast as almost 2 feet per second. Centipedes have sharp senses, and they rely on vibration, light, and motion to detect danger. If they find you, you would be astonished to see how agile they can be. To make things worse, centipedes have large feelers that allow them to sense any predators nearby. This makes it extremely difficult for you to quietly sneak up on them.
Do you need to be on alert for a bite?
Unlike other house pests, centipedes can bite. But this is not such bad news because they don’t actively pursue humans for a bite. You will get a bite only when you try to touch it by yourself. There is no venom in the mandibles of house centipedes. They sting via their tiny appendages that look similar to pincers.
Moreover, the jaws of house centipedes don’t make up for a scary sight; even if you are bitten, it is not going to cause any serious damage. However, if bitten, you will need to apply an ointment or take some pills to reduce the pain and keep the infection at bay.
The ideal conditions for centipede infestation
Centipedes are hard to spot. While adult centipedes are still easy to observe, young centipedes are difficult to trace. If you observe one or more of the following signs, you may be dealing with a centipede infestation.
It is cold out there
Humans hate to remain outside in the cold. They try their best to stay indoors when the temperatures go down. A house centipede feels the same way. If your home is warm enough in the winters, a house centipede relishes this opportunity to come over uninvited for an extended period.
Your home has pests
If you already have a pest problem on hand, a centipede infestation is inevitable. Centipedes feed on smaller insects, many of which are attracted to the leftover food in your kitchen. Try to learn what exactly is bringing centipede fodder to your home. Either avoid that food item or store it safely.
To detect pests, you can single out their smells. For instance, mice have a stuffy urine smell. Bed bugs have a musty, sweet stench. Rats reek of ammonia. If you have roaches, they produce a greasy smell. If the garbage in your home itself creates a bad smell, it can lure out other pests. If you hear the sounds of scratches, it is likely that there are rats and mice that are running on the other side of walls and floorboards.
If your home has cracks in the walls or floors, they may help the centipedes stay and hide during the day. As centipedes belong to the nocturnal category and are too small to be noticed, you will find it hard to see them in the night time.
In case you find a centipede walking on your body during sleep, and you manage to get a hold of it, there are possibilities that your home has been ravaged by house centipedes. However, if you get bites in the sleep, keep in mind that centipedes don’t bite unless provoked. Therefore, it may be some other pest.
How to get rid of house centipedes
If your home has been invaded by house centipedes, they can turn out to be quite a nuisance. You have to be quick on your toes and kill them as soon as you see them. As we discussed above, these creatures are really quick, so there is no room for slacking off. If you have decided to get rid of house centipedes, consider the following methods.
Since house centipedes don’t come to homes in large groups, a physical mode of action is not a bad idea. Squash and toss, vacuum up, trap them, and release them outside.
Use sticky traps
You can use sticky traps in the most common crevices and corners where you find centipedes in your home. These traps are handy because they can capture other insects too, which are sneakily residing in your house. Sometimes, large centipedes can escape the traps, albeit at the cost of their legs. Hence, sticky traps are most useful to get rid of smaller centipedes.
Go for an insecticide
If other solutions don’t work, you can consider spraying insecticides. However, insecticides must be only taken as temporary solutions. If you have not purchased insecticides before, go to any garden supply store to purchase them. Afterward, read the instructions on the package and follow them to the tee. Although insecticide cannot kill humans or pets, still they are harmful to an extent.
To determine where to spray insecticides, your sticky trap strategy can be useful. Sticky traps notify the busiest areas in homes where you can find centipedes in large quantities. Insecticides that use pyrethroids can instantly remove centipedes on contact.
Place a barrier
Regardless of the fact, you chose a natural insecticide or a chemical one, now you can utilize them to put down a barrier around the surroundings of your home. This helps because centipedes often visit your home from outside. In case they cross this barrier, they will die soon, based on the type of insecticide. For this strategy, cyhalothrin-based organic pesticides have time and again proven to be effective against house centipedes.
Remove other pests
If you can get rid of other pests in your home, you can directly destroy one of the food sources of house centipedes. Without anything to eat, they are either forced to migrate or starve themselves to death. Keep in mind that unlike some other insects, centipedes find it hard to survive without food.
Keep your home moisture-free
Centipedes thrive in wet environments. Without a moist surrounding, they dry out and die. Use a dehumidifier for the damp areas in your home to prevent them from living peacefully. Get silica packets and strategically put them in the wettest areas of your home. Experts explain that silica can absorb moisture, both from the ground and air. Silica packets are affordable, so this is not a costly solution.
Take out organic material
Put tarpaulins, mulch, firewood, and compost bins away from the boundary of your home. Get rid of wood, leaves, compost, and organic debris.
Shut down the entrance points
You must have a solution that can stop the centipedes from coming into your home. Use a sealing solution for bridging cracks in the concrete foundation and caulk doors, windows, and other spaces. Weather-stripping can be applied to your home to prevent the invasion of house centipedes. Inspect your downspouts and remove branches, leaves, and similar stuff which can become an obstruction. Centipedes use these sources as an entry point.
Cayenne pepper is a creative, effective solution to dissuade the intrusion of centipedes in your home. Use them to create a thin layer at different entrance points in the external and internal areas of your house. However, if you have pets, you need to be careful. Make sure that the layer is placed in areas that are not frequented by your dog or pet.
What if house centipedes happen to infest your sink?
Centipedes make up for a sore sight in sinks. You might act on your impulses and flush them down. However, this is only a short-term solution. You can’t wipe them out permanently.
Try to get a look at your external drains. See if they appear damaged. In case, the grate has holes and cracks on it, or if fitting does not seem right, repair it ASAP. This is because centipedes access these holes because of their attraction to damp spaces.
You can use a flashlight to inspect your drain pipes and make sure that they are not filled with stagnant water. In such circumstances, centipedes use stagnant water to come into your home. This is because these house centipedes can swim in the water and travel easily through drain pipes.
If your sink stops working, it is necessary to ensure that the water pressure is adequate and no foul odors are originating from the sink. If needed, use a plunger to clean the pipes.
Often, food items can block your drains. Some of these food particles may seem tiny and harmless, but they can become the source of an un-fixable clog. Before centipedes can use this opportunity, use ½ cup of baking soda and vinegar and pour it down your drain.
Once in a while, have a look at the area beneath the sink and search for any damage. If required, take out and replace any fittings and fixtures which have degraded to a poor state. You must be especially attentive while assessing your floorboards in the area where they meet the wall. Since rotting food is prone to crumble, house centipedes can exploit this opening.
What if house centipedes harm your houseplants?
When centipedes have hunted actively, they may seek refuge in the soil of your houseplants. These places are wet and can be dark. Thus, it meets all the housing requirements of centipedes. You can eradicate the following methods.
- Look for debris on the top of the soil. Make sure that you are not watering more than required. Limiting water use is necessary. You have to ensure that the soil is dry by touching it during watering. Without water, house centipedes don’t have a lot of motivation to live around these areas.
- Upon spotting any centipedes on the soil, vacuum up them. One thorough operation can get rid of them and your soil will also remain undisturbed.
- You can use sticky traps again. Find the houseplants with centipedes and place them.
How to get rid of house centipedes in garden
Your house centipedes can mess up your garden big time. By following these tips, you can discourage them.
Wipe out food
Eliminate decaying organic matter in the pots. Centipedes can eat roots, soft bulbs, fallen fruits, seedlings, rotting wood, and dead foliage. When they can find these items in the garden, they become attached to it, and may even decide it as a reproduction spot. You can apply the following steps.
- Take out the decaying stems, and excess mulch.
- Eliminate dead leaves when you are done with pruning and weeding.
- Sometimes, centipedes inflict serious damage to berries and fruits on the soil. Hence, it is recommended to pick out them ASAP.
- If the infestation becomes too severe, perhaps repotting is a better idea.
Ensure shorter grass
If the grass in your garden is cut shorter, centipedes may not like to visit it. This solution is not only easy, but it also lends a nice appearance to your home. Use a riding mower that mulches or bags grass for good results. If you are unable to cut the grass, you can outsource the job at a low-cost wage.
What if centipedes exist in wall voids?
Centipedes love to exploit holes in the walls. Some people use aerosol to kill them, but it is an ineffective approach. However, drione dust is something that can aid you in this instance. It is a white-colored dust that is used as a desiccant against pests.
Drione damages the exoskeleton of centipedes and dries them off. This solution is not only safe but it is also quite efficient in dehydrating insects successfully. Drione dust lasts for around a year. Use it in small amounts in the wall voids.
If you follow the solutions mentioned above, you can achieve great success in permanently getting rid of house centipedes. One of the key factors is to control the amount of moisture and humidity in your home. To do this, acquire a humidity gauge for your home. Depending upon the results, a dehumidifier can be an excellent ally.
Similarly, you have to treat this activity as a strategy game .i.e. how to prevent the enemy from invading your fortress? For this purpose, you can use insecticides and other solutions to create a preventative boundary around your home. The goal is to block all the access points and make their living spaces a hell.
In case the infestation of house centipedes in your home has gone too bad, it is possible that you can’t fix it by yourself. This means that no matter how hard you try, you are just not equipped to handle this situation anymore. Therefore, now is the time to call the experts. Pest exterminators will inspect your home thoroughly. They will use advanced equipment with their valuable experience to destroy house centipedes once and for all from your home.