The sight of a house centipede scurrying across your home’s floor is perhaps the scariest thing you’ll ever see.
The very sight of it can make you run for cover, or it can make you squash it under your boots.
But what if we tell you that you should never kill a centipede?
Then your first question would be, why not? What are centipedes good for?
In this post, you’ll get to know the benefits of centipedes, both for your home and garden.
You’ll also get to know how to get rid of centipedes from your home without killing them.
Let’s get into it.
But before that some facts and basics about centipedes.
What Are Centipedes? A Brief Introduction In Simplest Terms!
Centipedes, or the hundred-leggers, are worm-like creatures. They’re metameric creatures, which means that they’ve one pair of legs per body segment.
Centipedes don’t have 100 legs. The number of legs can vary from 30 to 354, depending on their size.
House centipedes are yellowish or dark brown with a prominent head that has a pair of antennae.
They can grow up to 6 inches in length, and their life span is around one year.
There’s another kind of centipede, Scolopendra. It’s bigger than the house centipede, navy blue, and has an orange head.
Scolopendra looks more menacing, and to many, more beautiful, than the house centipedes. But they’re rarely seen at homes.
Centipedes, both house centipede, and Scolopendra are nocturnal creatures. They hunt mostly at night.
Centipedes carry venom in their fangs that they use to paralyze their prey before consuming it.
House centipedes don’t bite humans because their fangs are too weak to penetrate the human skin.
When poked, they might pinch you, which can cause a little bit of irritation. House centipedes don’t carry any diseases either.
However, if anyone is allergic to bug bites, they can show allergic reactions after bitten by a centipede.
But the Scolopendra has more prominent and more robust fangs. And more venom! They can bite humans, birds, and other mammals if they’re bothered.
Scolopendra bite is painful and causes inflammation and itchiness on the skin. But the pain goes away within a week unless the bitten area turned into an infection.
Centipedes prefer to live in dark, damp, and tight spaces.
While scurrying on your home’s floor, centipedes stop for a while. They do it because when they come across a human, they look for a place to hide.
Centipedes are more scared of humans than humans fear centipedes.
Why do House Centipedes Get Inside Your Home?
There are two reasons for house centipedes getting inside your home.
The Weather Outside Of Your Home Is Inclement For Centipedes
When it rains hard, or when the weather outside is too hot or too cold, centipedes get inside your home.
Centipedes prefer dark and damp places. They can’t live in too wet and in extreme temperatures.
Inside your home, they look for the warmth, the perfect dampness that suits them, and prey.
No Prey Outside To Hunt And Eat
When the weather outside of your home becomes harsh, centipedes run out of prey.
It’s because most of their preys either have gone deep underground, or they too had entered your home.
So, in search of food, centipedes enter your home.
Inclement temperatures and wet weather outside your home also attract centipedes’ prey like silverfish, earwigs, roaches, ants, and flies.
But just like millipedes, centipedes don’t prefer to stay at your home forever.
Once the weather outside is good enough for centipedes, they leave.
The most common places where you can find centipedes that are dark and moist.
So, bathroom, laundry room, basement, and garage are some of the places where they most often hide.
Centipedes don’t prefer to hide in dry places like your bedroom or living room unless other bugs hide there.
What Are Centipedes Good For?
Now you know a lot about centipedes, their behavior, and why they’re inside your home.
But what benefits do centipedes bring to your home and garden?
Here they are.
Centipedes Are Pest Controllers For Free!
Centipedes eat anything smaller than them, and that moves. Which means they can clean up all the bugs inside your home.
But does it mean that they’ll finish off the entire ant or termite colony living inside your home? No!
But it does mean that centipedes are helpful insects.
Centipedes also play a significant role in getting rid of harmful garden pests like aphids, insect larvae, springtails, soil-dwelling mites, and many more.
Centipedes hide and pounce on their prey before they drill their fangs inside their prey’s body.
Once the fangs are inside, they release their venom. This process is known as lassoing. The toxin paralyzes their prey before centipedes start to consume it.
Centipedes can hunt anything that is at most 15 times their size. So, it’s quite normal for a full-grown centipede to hunt and eat a mouse.
Centipedes Don’t Bring Infestation Problems
Centipedes don’t pose any infestation threat inside your home.
By infestation threat, we mean that centipedes don’t establish their colonies inside your furniture or property and breed endlessly, only to damage it.
Centipedes don’t prefer to breed inside your home. They lay their eggs in rotting wood or leaves and loose soil outside your home.
That’s why your home is a stop-gap arrangement for them. Centipedes are waiting to get out of your home as soon as the weather outside becomes habitable.
Centipedes also don’t carry any diseases, making them perfectly safe for humans and pets.
Many people believe that centipedes can crawl onto your bed and can get inside your ears when you’re sleeping.
It’s not true at all.
Your bed has nothing to offer to centipedes. Your bed isn’t humid, and even if it has oil stains and food crumbs, it won’t attract centipedes. It’s because it’s not the diet of centipedes.
Oil stains and food crumbs can attract other bugs like crickets and bed worms, but not centipedes.
Centipedes don’t eat wood, fabric, human or pet food. They don’t even eat organic wastes in your trash bins.
But centipedes can clean up the maggots and moth larvae living in your trash bins.
How To Get Rid Of Centipedes In Your Home (Without Killing Them)?
It’s not a good idea to have all the centipedes inside your home just because they’re harmless and eat other bugs.
After all, it’s your home, and as a homeowner, you don’t want it to become a refuge for insects and bugs.
But there are ways to get rid of them without killing them.
Let’s find out how.
Get Rid Of Centipede’s Food Source
The first step is to get rid of what centipedes eat.
Are there other bugs inside your home like ants, silverfish, earwigs, spiders, and roaches?
If yes, then get rid of them first.
When centipedes don’t find any food inside your home, they’ll eventually go away. Some may even die out of starvation.
You would need the help of a pest controller to get rid of tough bugs like ants and roaches. Because to get rid of them, you would need to locate their nests, which only an experienced pest controller can do.
Spray Smells That Centipedes Hate
The second step is to spray a mixture of cold condensed natural extract essential oil and water in your home.
Centipedes hate peppermint, eucalyptus, and citrus smells, and they avoid it like the plague.
Prepare a spray by adding 5-7 drops of any of the peppermint, eucalyptus, and citrus essential oils in half a gallon of water.
Spray the mixture in the damp and dark corners of your home like bathroom, basement, and garage.
Ensure that you spray the mixture in tight corners and gaps and cracks in the walls and the floors. These are the hiding places for centipedes.
Also, ensure that you don’t spray too much. Damping a gap or crack too much can cause the centipedes to hide somewhere else.
These essential oils repel not just centipedes. They repel other bugs like silverfish, earwigs, and millipedes that enter your home for the same reasons.
But remember, essential oils are repellants, not killers.
Keep Cinnamon Barks Around In The Dark And Damp Places In Your Home
Cinnamon is another excellent centipede repellent.
And the best way to use cinnamon is to keep it in tight spaces and corners of your bathroom, basement, kitchen, and garage.
You can also use cinnamon essential oil, but it must be a natural extract and pure.
Cinnamon powder can be helpful too, but you would need to vacuum clean the place where you’ve sprinkled it.
Keep a few cinnamon barks in places like near the drains, bathtub, and the plumbing area of the bathroom vanity.
These are the places where centipedes hide in your bathroom.
How To Keep Centipedes Away From Your Home, Forever!
Most often, centipedes enter your home during autumn when the temperatures start to drop.
They can also enter your home after heavy rains.
But is it possible to never have centipedes again in your home?
Yes, it is!
Here are four ways to keep centipedes away from your home, once and for all.
Use A Good Quality Dehumidifier To Keep Centipedes Away
Centipedes love humidity. And suppose you’re living in a state like Florida and Georgia, where humidity is high. In that case, it’s always wise to use a dehumidifier in your home.
Dehumidifiers reduce humidity levels inside your home. Low levels of humidity keep not only centipedes away from your home but also many other bugs.
Repair Water Leaks To Remove Moisture From Your Home
Every home has moisture. But some homes have more moisture.
And what’s the cause of excessive moisture content?
It’s water leakage.
So, if you’ve water leakage problems in your bathroom, kitchen, and basement, fix them.
Removing moisture is essential not only to keep centipedes away. But it also helps in keeping away other property damaging bugs like termites and bed bugs.
For termites and bed bugs, moisture is life support without which they can’t survive.
But the most crucial place that you need to look out for is the high moisture content in your home’s foundation.
Leakage in and around your home’s foundation often goes unnoticed, and it becomes the major attractant for many bugs and insects, including centipedes.
So, check out for any broken pipes that are causing water leakage in and around your home’s foundation.
If there’s any, fix the leakage.
Install downspouts and gutters to divert water away from your home’s foundation.
Stagnant water around your home’s foundation increases the dampness level of your floor and walls.
Dampness in the home’s foundation attracts bugs and insects. And unfortunately, it’s the least talked about the reason for pest infestation in homes.
And finally, don’t forget your bathroom floor.
Check for any gaps and cracks in your bathroom’s floors and floor tiles. If there’s any, seal them off.
If there are gaps in your bathroom floor, then water seeps through these gaps. It goes into the ground, causing the moisture content in the floor to increase.
An increase in moisture loosens up the soil underneath the tiles. It may cause centipedes to hide and even lay eggs in these gaps.
Seal The Cracks On Your Home’s Walls That Are Entry Points For Centipedes
Centipedes sneak inside your home through the cracks on the walls. The gaps between the door bottoms and the floor are also an entry space for centipedes.
Apply caulk to seal those cracks in the walls. Use a good quality door sweep to fill the gap between the door bottom and the floor.
If there’s any gap between the window frames and the wall, seal them too. Centipedes use that gap as a pathway into your home.
Centipedes, and other bugs, can enter your home through the gaps at the expansion joints between the patio and the home’s foundation.
Seal those gaps too. Make sure to use a suitable quality sealant that hardens well when it dries up.
Remove Debris From Your Yard Or Garden
Debris, mainly foliage, in your garden is a hiding place of centipedes, spiders, and a whole lot of other bugs.
Remove foliage, excessive mulch, firewood, and stones from your yard or garden.
If firewood piles are close to your home’s foundation, take them far away and keep them on an elevated platform.
The reason is that firewood piles can be a host to many home invasive pests, including termites.
It’d be best and safe if you keep these firewood piles away from your home’s foundation.
It’s because if firewood piles are lying on the ground, then subterranean termites from the ground will infest these piles. Then it’s only a matter of time that they’ll invade your homes.
Clean your yard and trash bin. If there are other pests like roaches and termites in your yard, get rid of them too with a pest controller’s help.
DIY methods don’t work well against tough pests like termites and roaches. It’s always wise to get hold of a pest controller rather than trying your methods.
Centipedes are beneficial insects. They don’t harm you, nor they destroy your belongings.
Centipedes eat bugs and pests that are harmful to your home and garden.
They don’t prefer to live inside your home unless the weather outside is too wet or inclement for them to live.
They enter your home looking for warmth, the right amount of dampness, and food. Centipedes’ food is other bugs that are already hiding in your home.
In this post, you got to know how to keep centipedes away and get rid of them without killing them.
You don’t need a full-fledged pest control if you spot one or two centipedes inside your home.
Just follow the steps outlined in this post, and your home will be free from centipedes.
But if you’ve severe bug problems, like ants, roach, or termite infestation, that attracts the centipedes, you’d need the help of a pest controller.
These bugs are invasive, and they cause massive damage to your property. Call a pest controller now to get rid of them.
We’re Mark and Jim. We were serial pest killers for almost all of our lives. Through this blog we spread pest murdering tips to people like you who want to keep their homes pest free.