Mostly, people are scared of centipede because the sting is venomous. However, their sting is not life-threatening. Even their jaws are barely able to penetrate human skin. If they end up biting a human, the injury is more like a minor bee sting. Yet, that fact still cannot change that many people still want to get rid of them especially the one can be found in their house.
There are ways on how to get rid of house centipedes and most of them are easy to be done. However, you still have to consider whether it is necessary to kill them or you just need to drive them out of your house.
House centipede basically is not dangerous. Unless you are its fellow pest, you don’t have to worry about them because they only take a prey upon other small insects such as bugs, termites, spiders, and even cockroach. However, many of us still do not want to find centipedes in our house. Centipedes can reflect that our house is not clean enough. Before we get to how to get rid of centipedes, let us consider some things about them.
Description of Centipede
As it is mentioned before, centipede is not actually an insect. They are anthropoid because they have more than six legs. Averagely, they have 30 legs when fully grown. There are more than 2.000 species of centipedes in the world, but mostly they only can be found outdoors. The one which keeps appearing in our house is called house centipede with Latin name Scutigera coleoptrata. This kind of centipede can live and breed inside a building. Commonly, they are Mediterranean native, but they made their way around the world because of international trades and travels.
The house centipede is grayish-yellow with many body segments. There are three stripes at its back and it has long white banded legs. While common centipedes can be 1 to 6 inches long, the house centipede is only 1 to 1 ½ inches long and it’s their long legs that make them look wider. They have a relatively long lifespan which is three to seven years. The one that keeps appearing in your house may have live for over 5 years under the same roof with you.
Centipedes are nocturnal, hide in the dark and come out at night to hunt. They love to live in a damp environment like under rock, tree bark, and leaves. Like most centipedes, house centipedes also like to hide in moist, dark and secluded areas such as in basement and bathroom. In winter, most of them will be outside, while in summer they will try to keep hidden in dark moist areas to lay eggs.
The Damage and Bites
Centipede basically is not dangerous. The little one has a jaw that is barely able to penetrate human skin. Even, the fully grown one will bite only when it is injured. If the sting penetrates human skin, it will make a light swollen. They are not hostiles because they only hunt other insects such as bugs, termites, or even cockroach. Centipede also does no damage to your food supply or home furniture. That’s why we have to consider whether killing it or not.
What is The Sign of A Centipede Infestation?
Typically, they leave no trace or direct sign. You will know that they live in your house by their sighting. However, they are rarely seen because they are nocturnal, agile and fast.
After knowing these facts, you may consider how to get rid of them. You may kill them if they really cause much trouble. If not, you can simply repel them.
How to Get Rid of House Centipedes
1. Kill Them on Sight
If you really scare of centipede, you don’t have to worry because they usually never invade the house with an enormous number. So if you kill one of them on sight, it is likely you already get rid of house centipede problem in your home. However, make sure you are quick enough to hit it because, despite its long body, the centipede is quite fast.
If you don’t want to kill them, you can just capture them and throw it away from your house. Make sure it’s is quite far so it will never come back.
2. Sealing The Entry
This method works for those who don’t want or too afraid to kill the centipede. By closing all of the possible entrance, the centipede won’t be able to enter your house. Centipede can make their way into the building by crawling into gaps under doors, windows, or through a small crack. To seal all of the entrances, you can caulk around the edges or spaces between the doors or windows. Pay attention to smallest crack because it is large enough for centipede to go through. By sealing all of the spaces between doors windows especially in the bathroom, you will prevent centipede and even other insects to enter your house.
3. Keep Your House Dry
As you read before, centipede really like to find a dark, moist and damp areas to hide and of course to live. They will dry out if they don’t live in a moist environment. Centipede is more likely to lose its fluid and that’s why it is really fond of a moist environment such as your bathroom. To make your house become inhabitable for house centipede, you need to reduce its humidity. The exhaust fan can be useful to get the moist air out of the room in your house. Or you can also use the dehumidifier when cleaning up damp bathroom and basement. If the humidity is inhabitable for them, they will find another place to live. Besides using dehumidifier and exhaust fan, silica is also effective to keep damp areas dry. A packet of silica is absorbent that absorb the moisture away from the air and the ground. Silica can be found in new shoes. After applying those methods, don’t forget to check and fix drips or leaks in the house by inspecting the water pipes.
4. Get Rid of Small Household Pest
Centipede eats small insects such as bugs, termites or even cockroach. So if you want to get rid of centipede, you also have to get rid of other small pests. Once the small pest is gone, centipede will have nothing to eat. It will try to find food somewhere else, maybe to your neighbor’s house. This method will help you to get rid both centipede and other pests.
5. Remove Organic Material from Around Your House
Organic material will make the area damp which leads to insect infestation. As you know, centipede hunts for small insects. So, if your house is a mess and full of organic material, it is better to get rid of it to avoid small insects. Remove any compost, leaves, woods, and other organic material to the certain perimeter so the centipede won’t come near or enter your house. Moreover, abundance cluttered organic material will also lead to insect infestation. The messy spot will allow the insects, which is the centipede’s food to brood. The clutter is also the best place for centipede hideout. If it is located near your house, you can imagine that the centipede will make its way into your house.
It goes the same to the clutters inside your house too, such as a messy laundry in your bathroom or basement. It eventually will be the place for centipede’s food. The clutter will make the area damp and moist which is the place that centipede love the most. So if your yard and house are still clutter and full of bugs, the centipede will keep coming even though you kill it so many times.
6. Use Sticky Trap
There are various bug traps that use the sticky material. This trap is also helpful to catch centipede. You can put the trap on the corner of the house or on the areas where the centipede tends to hunt or crawling around. However, there is a possibility when the larger centipede may escape the trap. So, it is more effective in catching the smaller one.
Since the sticky traps can also catch other bugs or insects, it means that you will also be aware which other pests that you need to worry about. Furthermore, the trap also helps you to discover which areas in your house that needs to be sprayed with insecticide.
Let us begin with one of the most effective organic repellents. Salt is effective to repel various crawling animals and one of them is the centipede. What you have to do is to spread the salt on the areas where you find centipede most active. The salt will make them suffer so they will stay away from the areas. If you have no choice but to kill them, just pour the salt directly at them, while they are suffering, kill them in an instance.
Pandanus is also the organic centipede repellant. The plant will repel the centipede by its scent. Centipede doesn’t like the sweet scent of pandanus so that it is effective to deter the centipede away. What you have to do is find some pandanus and slice it to make the scent stronger. Then, put the sliced pandanus on the strategic areas to repel the centipede.
- Cayyene Pepper
Try to spread cayenne pepper on the strategic areas where you find centipedes crawling around. The pepper will repel the centipede so they won’t be back again. Just like the salt, the pepper will make the centipede suffer, so please be aware to put your pets away from the pepper.
8. Spray Insecticide
Insecticide is recommended to use if none of the natural ways work because it has chemical substances that may have the effect on the environment. There are ways to use insecticide spray. First, you can spray the strategic areas where centipede usually hides, or crawl. It may be under the moist area such as under your cupboard or inside cracked wall. As a chemical spray, of course, it will make the centipede dies eventually.
The second one is by coating soil around your house. Try to soak the soil a couple of feet below with the insecticide. The soaked soil will keep the centipede away from your house. If you don’t want to find a single centipede in your lawn, you can spray the whole areas in your lawn. If you have a garden, please use the insecticide as the last resort or only for temporary. The insecticide is not good for helpful insects like bees.
9. Dust Insecticide
There is dust insecticide that won’t poison the environment and mammals. The dust is the one that contains boric acid or food grade diatomaceous earth. The dust will only poison the centipede. Use a powder duster when pouring the dust into the strategic areas. Just like the spray insecticide, you can also make a barrier for your house by using the dust. Pour the dust around the house foundation, as long as the dust is dry, it will be still effective. You can replace the dust as you needed.
For the record, the dust may cause skin and eye irritation. So wear protective clothing such as eyewear, rubber gloves, and a dust mask when using it and make sure that you use the dust only in areas where there are no kids and pets activities.
10. Look for Professional Help
If none of those methods are working to help you to get rid of house centipede, you can use the last turf, which is hiring the exterminator. The exterminators will seek and destroy the centipede. That’s their way on who to get rid of house centipedes. They may crawl your house to find where the best place for centipede to hide and breed. They will find the entrance and the centipede eggs that you missed. As the professional, the exterminators are obviously very capable of exterminating the centipede for good and they don’t come cheap, which means more money to hire them.