A cluttered, dark, and humid basement is an ideal home for many bugs.
And one set of these bugs is basement bugs with lots of legs.
In this guide, you’ll find four multi-legged bugs that sneak inside your basement.
You’ll find out why they enter your basement, their hiding places, and a safe, hassle-free way to eliminate them.
Basement Bugs With Lots Of Legs – Revealed
- Pill bugs
These bugs are not dangerous. They are just looking for an ideal place to hide for some reason.
Let’s find out what pushes these bugs to your basement and where they hide once they’re inside.
House Centipedes – The Thousand Leggers In The Basement
If there’s one common bug in many basements, it’s the house centipede.
These bugs are infamous for coming out of nowhere in your home, especially in the dark and dingy places.
House centipedes have a nickname – the thousand leggers.
But they don’t have a thousand legs. They’ve 15 pairs of legs, totaling 30 legs.
When house centipedes walk, their legs move forward and backward in unison, which gives the impression that they’ve got too many legs to count.
House centipedes, also known as the Scutigera coleoptrata, hide in places with high dampness.
That’s why places like bathrooms and kitchens are their favorite. But if they’re showing up in your basement, your basement is damp.
Most house centipedes are yellowish-grey. An adult house centipede can grow up to 3-4 inches in length.
House centipedes sneak inside homes, especially home basements when the outdoor weather becomes too hot and dry.
That makes the centipedes move from your yard to your home, looking for a damper and milder place to live.
So, the number of house centipedes shoots up inside homes during the summer months.
They’re nocturnal hunters. They hide during the day in the thin cracks on the basement walls and floors.
Centipedes can also hide in the clutter of your basement.
They’re also helpful predators. During the night, the house centipedes will venture of their hiding places to hunt and eat other bugs living in your basement.
Unless you get rid of centipedes, their numbers can shoot up. So, it would help if you lookout for the signs of centipede infestation in your basement.
And how do you find out there’s a centipede infestation in your basement?
Let’s find it out.
Signs Of House Centipede Infestation
Unlike other bugs and insects that infest homes, house centipedes don’t leave behind any tracks that can signify their presence.
So, there are two signs of house centipede infestation –
- Physical sightings of house centipedes
- Physical sightings of house centipedes babies
As centipedes are nocturnal insects, it’s hard to find them physically during the day.
However, in many instances, they come out of their hiding places during the day when human activity increases.
The most ignored sign of house centipede infestation is the centipede babies.
House centipede babies are tiny, half-an-inch long, and pale yellow.
House centipede babies also indicate that the adult ones are breeding inside your home, causing an infestation.
The centipede babies can also hide in the basement, bathroom, and kitchen drains.
You may notice baby centipedes coming out of the drains if you pour water down the drain.
Are House Centipedes Dangerous?
No, house centipedes are not dangerous. They are shy bugs, and they avoid human contact.
The first reaction of a house centipede on encountering a human or pet is to hurry through the surface and hide asap.
But centipedes can bite when you try to handle them or when your skin presses against them.
Their bites don’t cause any harm or death to humans and animals. But centipede bites can cause discomfort, itching, soreness, and pain.
Biting is a defense mechanism for centipedes when they feel under threat. They’ll not purposefully bite humans and pets.
House centipedes have venom that they use to hunt. Like many venomous bugs, centipedes’ bodies must work hard to prepare that venom.
So, they won’t waste their venom by biting humans and big animals that they can’t eat.
A bite from the centipede won’t kill you.
But it’s always best to get rid of centipedes no matter where you find them in your home.
Later in the post, you’ll find out how to get rid of these centipedes and other basement bugs with lots of legs.
Let’s move on to another multi-legged basement bug, the millipedes.
Millipede – Bug With Lots Of Legs But Not A Centipede
Millipedes in the basement and homes are the same as the reasons for centipedes at home.
These insects sneak inside basements to escape the unfavorable weather outdoors.
Excessive cold, heat, and heavy rains cause millipedes to seek alternative living places.
That forces them to move inside homes and basements.
Outdoors, millipedes and centipedes hide underneath rocks, in the foliage, in the organic wastes, and the tree barks.
Like the house centipedes, the millipedes also prefer dark and damp places to live.
Millipedes are bigger, thicker, and darker than house centipedes.
An adult millipede can grow up to 4½ inches in length. In some states, the millipedes are even bigger.
Millipedes can come in different colors. Most commonly, they’re black.
But many millipedes can be tan with blackish-yellow stripes on their bodies.
Millipedes have lots of legs. A standard full-grown millipede can have 300 legs.
Experts believe that some species of millipedes have even more.
Millipedes don’t breed indoors. It means that they don’t bring an infestation risk.
So, if there are millipedes in your basement or your home, they’ll move out when the weather outdoors becomes favorable for them.
It’s because human homes are not their ideal habitat.
They hide in the basement clutter and the tight nooks and corners of the basement.
Millipedes curl when you disturb them.
That’s a defensive posture to protect their vulnerable undersides.
Millipedes don’t bite humans and pets. So, their presence in your basement is not dangerous for you.
But millipedes emit a nasty stench from their glands if they feel they’re under threat.
So, it makes total sense to get rid of millipedes if they enter your home and basement.
On top of curling up, emitting a nasty odor is also one of the defense mechanisms for the millipedes.
Silverfish – Bug With Long Antennae And 6 Legs
Silverfish are moisture bugs that sneak inside homes and basements when the weather outdoors becomes hot and dry.
Silverfish are tiny, growing only up to half an inch in size. They’ve got a pair of long antennae, six legs, and three appendages at their abdomen.
Silverfish are shiny grey, to the extent of appearing silver in color.
Silverfish hide in the clutter of the basement, especially in the cardboard boxes and in the paper and book piles.
They feed on the cellulose of the paper products and on the molds that form on the damp surfaces.
Silverfish don’t just hide in the basement. They’re also common household bugs.
Their preference for damp places and their appetite for starch, protein, and fiber can make them hide in your kitchen, bathroom, and even inside your closet.
Silverfish prefer bathrooms and laundry rooms more than your basement because, in these places, the water usage is highest.
If there are silverfish bugs in your bathroom, you can spot them in the bathtub and bathroom sink.
Silverfish are harmless. They don’t bite or bring any germs and pathogens to your home.
But they can breed fast inside homes if the moisture levels are high.
So, they can soon turn into a nuisance.
Silverfish’s closest cousins, firebrats, can also be in the basement and other damp places in your home.
Firebrats are a similar size to silverfish. But they’re not as shiny as the silverfish.
Firebrats also have visible scales on their back and an extended tail-like thing at the rear side of their abdomen.
Pill Bugs In The Basement
The pill bug is another moisture-seeking bug that sneaks inside basements to escape the outdoor heat.
Pill bugs look like beetles, but they’re not.
A matured adult pill bug grows up to 5/8 inches in size. They’re grey and oval-shaped with visible hard scales on their bodies.
The presence of pill bugs in the basement signifies a severe moisture problem in your basement.
Leaking pipes in the basement cause the walls and floors of the basement to absorb moisture.
That draws the pill bugs.
Pill bugs in the house primarily prefer to hide in your bathroom and laundry room where there’s excessive water usage.
Pill bugs don’t bite, and neither do they spread any diseases.
Like the millipedes, pill bugs also curl up to protect themselves. When curled up, they look like a pill.
You can quickly get rid of them with the help of a vacuum cleaner.
How To Get Rid Of Bugs In The Basement?
Your basement can be home to many basement bugs, including bugs like roaches and earwigs.
Many homeowners have noticed fleas in the basement, especially when they’ve got pets.
There are two golden rules to eliminate basement bugs –
- Reduce clutter
- Eliminate moisture
However, there are other steps that you need to take to eliminate bugs in the basement.
Step#1 – Reduce Clutter To Deny The Basement Bugs Their Hiding Place
The first step to removing basement bugs is to get rid of the things that shelter them.
And that’s clutter.
Many storage places like the basement and storage rooms in apartments have clutter.
They’re full of old books, magazines, discarded furniture, clothes, and cardboard boxes.
Get rid of the stuff in the basement that you don’t need, especially the unnecessary cardboard boxes.
Cardboard boxes are home to many bugs in the basement, including cockroaches and spiders.
Remove book piles, old newspapers, and fabric from the basement as the starch in them is the food source of bugs like silverfish and roaches.
Step#2 – Reduce Moisture Levels In Your Basement And Repair Wall Damages
Let’s face it. All the basement bugs are moisture bugs.
They’ve sneaked inside your basement while they’re seeking moisture sources.
Leaky pipes in the basement cause the moisture levels in the basement to rise.
Excessive moisture creates molds and damages the walls and floors.
The walls and floors develop cracks that become the hiding place for many bugs, including centipedes.
Even rodents like mice can dig through those leak walls and build their nests.
So, repair those leaky pipes and ensure no water leakage in your basement.
Also, repair any damaged floors and walls to deny the basement bugs any hiding place.
After addressing the moisture problem in your basement, scatter diatomaceous earth on the floor.
Diatomaceous earth will soak the excessive moisture from the basement floor.
Diatomaceous earth will also kill any bugs that encounter it.
So, wait for half an hour after scattering diatomaceous earth before moving on to the third step.
Step#3 – Clean Your Basement
Wastes, clutter, and high dampness in basements draw bugs to basements.
After removing the clutter and fixing leakages, thoroughly clean your basement with a vacuum cleaner.
If there are molds on the floor and furniture, remove them with a mold cleaner.
Those molds are food to many microscopic bugs like mold mites.
While vacuuming, you’ll come across these multi-legged basement bugs.
Do not try to touch them or kill them by stomping on them. Instead, use the vacuum cleaner on these bugs to remove them.
You can also carry along a bug-killer spray while performing the previous two steps to use them on the basement bugs that you might come across.
Step#4 – Seal All The Gaps And Cracks On The Walls
The wall crevices are not just hiding places for bugs. They can also be their entry points.
All the basement bugs crawl through these thin gaps and cracks on the walls and make your basement their home.
So, sealing them is vital.
Seal those cracks with silicone-based sealant. Silicone-based sealants are tough, durable, and bugs can’t chew through them.
Also, use door striping underneath basement doors. Bugs crawl through the gap between the door and floor.
Sealing the gap with door striping will prevent bugs from sneaking inside your basement.
It’ll also prevent them from crawling out of the basement and getting inside your house.
Step#5 – Use Bug Repelling Scents
Many natural scents keep bugs away. Peppermint is one of them.
Spray the peppermint oil spray in the corners of your basement, underneath the basement sink, on basement furniture, and in the storage section of the basement.
Bugs hate the smell of peppermint and avoid places that emit a peppermint smell.
Using the peppermint oil spray twice a month in your basement will help you keep bugs and rodents away.
The four common basement bugs with long legs that hide in your basement are –
- Pill bugs
These bugs are moisture-seeking bugs that sneak inside basements and homes to escape the outdoor heat during the summer.
However, heavy rains can also make these bugs move into your home and basement.
None of these bugs pose any serious threat to you and your home.
All of them are harmless. And you can quickly get rid of these bugs in your basement by following the five steps in this post.
Dr. Thomas Orbert, the Microbial Maestro, dances with the tiniest of creatures as an entomologist extraordinaire! With a PhD in entomology, his passion lies in unraveling the secret symphonies of insect-microbe interactions. From minuscule marvels to captivating complexities, Dr. Orbert unveils the hidden world of bugs, igniting curiosity one buzz at a time!