Here’s Why You Should Never Kill a House Centipede.
Find out why that creepy-looking centipede can actually be a welcome visitor in your home before you go ahead and squash it.
House centipedes are known for killing pests in your house that are completely unwelcome. They kill roaches, moths, flies, silverfish
Why You Should Never Kill a House Centipede
Seeing a house centipede scurrying around your home, perhaps searching for shelter beneath the baseboard molding or making a beeline for the kitchen cupboards, is frightening, to put it mildly. These disgusting, crawling things with several legs are never welcome in anyone’s home.
They’re not the easiest creatures to catch. The ordinary house centipede has 15 legs and can move at a speed of 1.3 feet per second, which is a lot faster than it seems. However fast they may be, the sight of one may make you want to go after it with the sole of your foot in order to crush it. But maybe you shouldn’t kill the centipede just yet.
Like almost every other bug out there, a centipede does have a purpose. Read on to find out why you actually might want to keep them around.
What is a centipede?
A centipede is an arthropod from the class of chilopoda. They are elongated insects with lots of legs. “Centi-” is Latin for 100, and “-pede” refers to legs, but centipedes actually have 15-177 legs. Each segment of its body has a pair of these legs. Centipedes are long, narrow, and nearly always flattened. The first pair of legs form claw-like poison fangs, while the last pair merely face backwards. First instars (stages) have only 4 segments, but acquire more with each molt.
The house centipede
One of the most common centipedes you are likely to find in your home is the common house centipede.
They look rather intimidating with their many long legs. They are proficient hunters and are known to attack their prey – but they prefer to eat insects and not bite people.
In fact, many find house centipedes to be very beneficial to have around because they are know to eat pest bugs including other arthropods, smaller insects and arachnids.
They prefer to live in cool, damp places which is why they are often found in basements, bathrooms and other areas of the house.
Where do centipedes live?
Centipedes prefer dark, damp secluded places, such as under boards, stones, piles of litter, under logs, or under bark and in crevices in damp soil. Indoors, they can be found in moist basements or closets.
How do house centipedes get inside?
They, like other insects, are quite ingenious in finding ways to enter buildings. House centipedes will look for a warm, dark spot to hide and hunt in. They can squeeze through the smallest of spaces, such as beneath a door or a gap.
Due of their little stature, a large area is unnecessary.
Check that all door sweeps have no holes and extend to the ground. Fix any broken screens and fill any foundation cracks.
Are house centipedes dangerous to people?
The good news is that house centipedes are not dangerous to humans, even though they can be scary when they run out from under the kitchen counter at top speed.
It’s possible that a house centipede could bite a person, but it’s more likely that someone would have to pick up and handle one for that to happen.
They would rather save their poison for eating, and humans are not on the menu.
If someone gets bitten, it will most likely just leave a red bump.
People who are allergic to bee stings and other insect bites and stings may need to see a doctor after getting bit by a house centipede to make sure they don’t have an allergic reaction, but most people shouldn’t feel anything at all.
How to Get Rid of Centipedes in Your Home
Don’t be in a hurry to get them out of your house. Remember, they can be helpful. But if you do prefer them to stay outside, just follow a few simple tips.
- If you want to get rid of house centipedes for good, the trick is to eliminate their food.
- Try to get rid of the household pests that they prey on. You can do this by making sure there isn’t extra moisture in your walls by using a dehumidifier or installing a fan in the bathroom.
- Seal off any cracks entering the house so pests don’t have places to lay eggs.
- Make sure to clear your house of any debris that is causing unnecessary moisture to leak into your walls.
Don’t want to use chemical cleaners? Here’s how to get rid of house centipedes naturally
Learning how to get rid of centipedes naturally is not complicated. You start by removing the elements in your home that allow them to thrive, including damp areas and other pests.
Once you are sure that you have eliminated the ideal environment for house centipedes so they won’t return, you can start getting rid of the ones that are currently in your home.
A high-powered vacuum and homemade sticky traps are two natural and easy ways to get rid of house centipedes without using chemical pesticides. Use your vacuum to clean areas that are hard to access and often get overlooked — these are ideal places for house centipedes.
You can make homemade sticky traps by putting a layer of petroleum jelly on heavy paper or cardboard. Place the traps near areas where house centipedes are likely to be in order to catch and remove the pest.
How to Prevent House Centipedes From Coming Back
Once you’ve made these changes to get rid of centipedes, implement these tips for controlling pests in and around your home so you never come across one of those scary looking house centipedes again.
Tips for Controlling Pests In and Around Your Home
Don’t let pests take over your home this spring and summer. Keep these simple and effective solutions handy, so you can act fast if a pest problem arises.
1. Seal Any and All Gaps
When you’re looking for all of the potential ways that pests might be sneaking into your home make sure to watch out for small, unsealed gaps where electrical lines and pipes enter your house. Bugs, mice, and other pests love these small gaps, so caulk them closed or use expanding foam insulation to deny entry.
2. Repair Torn Screens
Windows screens, mosquito nets, and similar barriers protect against inquisitive summer pests, but only if they provide complete protection. And (as long as the frame is in good shape) repairs are easy and can be done in a few minutes.
3. White Vinegar to Deter Ants
Ants leave a trail which makes it easier for other ants from the colony to find their way to food. To wash away the trail, use a natural solution made from 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 cups of water, and 10 drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil and help eliminate house pests.
4. Spiders Don’t Like Onions
It may be an old wives’ tale, but it’s worth a shot! To keep spiders away, slice up some onions and toss them in a bowl of water. Place the bowl where spiders enter your home and they’ll stay away.
5. Trim Plants Against Your House
Once you kill the ants in your house and yard, take steps to ensure they don’t come back. Trim back bushes, shrubs, and trees that brush against your siding or roof and provide a bridge for ants to reach your house. Keep a 3-in. to 6-in. clearance space between the soil around the foundation and the bottom row of the siding to prevent ants from nesting in the siding (and make sure the soil slopes away from the house).
The bottom line on house centipedes
The house centipede can be a scary sight for homeowners, and your first question may be, “Do centipedes bite?” Yes, house centipedes can bite and leave you with two red marks and localized pain. Fortunately, house centipede bites are uncommon and rarely cause any serious issues.
These pests are much more interested in feeding on other types of pests. House centipedes spend days in dark, damp places and come out at night in search of other pests to eat, such as roaches, spiders, and silverfish. A house centipede infestation can point to issues with the pests that are their food supply. You can deal with house centipedes on your own with natural and chemical options or bring in the help of a pest control pro.
Frequently Asked Questions about house centipede.
Are house centipedes poisonous?
You do not have to worry about house centipedes being poisonous unless you plan on eating them as an exotic snack. You may, however, be worried that this pest is venomous. Experts at Penn State point out that this pest does have venom but rarely causes any significant problems for humans who get bit.
Do house centipedes have 100 legs?
Female house centipedes have 15 pairs of legs.
Who can help me deal with a house centipede infestation?
Look to local pest control pros for help eradicating house centipedes from your home. Options for killing off some other types of pests can also be successful in eliminating house centipedes.
What’s my first step if I want to get professional help dealing with house centipedes?
Call a local pest pro and schedule a pest inspection for your home.