If you have ever found a house centipede inside of your home, you are not alone in feeling alarmed. This otherworldly-looking anthropoid has long been a pest in humid, moist regions but has begun appearing in most regions of North America recently. Although not considered dangerous, this pest can be unsightly in the home.
To get rid of house centipedes, make sure you reduce the moisture content in your home and seal all cracks and crevices. The best treatments for this pest include residual spray insecticides and the application of dust such as boric acid or diatomaceous earth.
Are you finding more than one house centipede in your home? Do house centipedes make you feel uncomfortable? If this is the case, this article is a must-read to find out more about the behavior of this secretive pest as well as the best treatment procedures to get rid of house centipedes. Read on to find out more.
About House Centipedes
Centipedes come in many different varieties and species types. Some species of centipede are dangerous, but the most common type, the house centipede, is fairly harmless when it comes to interactions with humans and pets.
A house centipede is long and slender, typically up to one and a half inches in length with 15 slender, almost threadlike legs that extend outwards almost like strains of straw. House centipedes are usually brown to light brown in color with two long antennae and pincers on the tip of the mouth.
The house centipede is also known for its incredible speed and many can flee from view within the blink of an eye, which makes this pest very hard to kill physically.
House centipedes survive by eating other small insects and small spiders, as well as by living near moisture sources since this pest lacks moisture-creating enzymes. This is why many homeowners typically find this pest in bathrooms or kitchens.
Believe it or not, the house centipede could actually be viewed as a beneficial pest within the home much like non-venomous spiders. When inside the home, the arthropods hunt for small pests and larvae like cockroaches or fleas. But the creepy appearance and behavior of the house centipede is just not something many people would feel comfortable living around.
What Attracts House Centipedes?
House centipedes are primarily attracted to small insects or spiders, moisture, and interior heat during the winter months.
Damp, humid, or wet environments are the most attractive dwelling spots for this species. House centipedes also prefer to live in dark spaces, with damp and dark areas being ideal such as underneath sinks, near showers or bathtubs, or even in closets or basements if the pest is seeking warmth from the cold.
Additionally, if you have pre-existing pest infestations, such as cockroaches, fleas, spiders, ants, bed bugs, termites, or silverfish, this will also attract the house centipede since these types of small pests are their primary food source.
During the cold months of the year or in structures that lack adequate air-conditioning, the house centipede will seek out heat sources. During winter, this is for survival since house centipedes do not hibernate like many common types of pests.
This species also prefers to reproduce in warm environments with warm and dark environments being preferred. House centipede eggs can typically be found in basements, inside closets, underneath beds or furniture, and underneath large appliances that generate heat.
The house centipede looks frightening but is relatively harmless. This species only attacks its food sources and rarely ever releases its venom otherwise.
This species is elusive and prefers to stay out of sight if possible, which is a trait it shares with one of its preferred prey, bed bugs. The most common way that people usually spot one is by quickly turning on a light in a bathroom or a closet. House centipedes have increased sensitivity to light, which is what makes this species mostly nocturnal.
House centipedes prefer to hunt for prey at night and use their incredible speed, pincers, and legs to attack and carry away all types of bugs. Trying to catch a house centipede or attempting to swat or stomp the pest is almost impossible due to their fast-moving nature.
4 Steps to Eliminate House Centipedes
Prevention is always the best overall method to ensure that you do not have to run across house centipedes inside your home. There are three primary steps to take to ensure this pest does not set up a shelter in your home.
Step 1: Seal All Cracks and Crevices
House centipedes come from outdoors, and the only way this species can get inside is through cracks and crevices that lead indoors.
First and foremost, always make sure any gaps underneath doors are sealed as much as possible. Make sure you do a thorough inspection of the foundation of your home looking for cracks, crevices, and gaps. Seal any gaps with caulking if possible.
House centipedes crawl very well so make sure you check all your windows for cracks and crevices as well. Seal any openings around window screens and make sure you keep your windows closed during the winter months.
Step 2: Eliminate Other Pests That House Centipedes Feed On
Small insects and spiders are the main food source for house centipedes. If you have these types of pests inside your home, be sure to eliminate these pests first which will eliminate food for house centipedes.
Even if you do not have an infestation of one or more of these types of pests, do everything you can to keep small insects out of your home.
Step 3: Reduce Indoor Moisture
Finally, moisture and dampness are also attractive to house centipedes. If your home is experiencing any type of leak, be it from drains indoors, underneath the foundation, or even air conditioner leaks, be sure to address these problems to prevent house centipedes.
Also, if you live in a moist and humid region, you can consider placing dehumidifiers throughout your home to remove as much excess moisture in the atmosphere as possible.
Make sure all sinks and tubs are dry before you go to sleep at night and always keep the lid to the toilet closed.
Step 4: Insecticides
House centipedes are relatively easy to get rid of, and you will typically only run into problems if a female house centipede has laid eggs inside the home. Otherwise, you will likely only be dealing with stray house centipedes, which means that strong residual sprays and effective pesticide dust are likely all you will ever need to eliminate this species.
Let’s take a look at the best spray and dust products to consider as well as some natural methods you can consider using for house centipedes.
When it comes to spray insecticides, liquid concentrations that contain a strong and long-lasting residual effect are truly the best. Applying a residual spray in all entry areas as well as damp and dark areas, including closets, is the best application location for house centipedes.
Suspend SC is one of the best and most versatile residual insecticides on the market. This product leaves a clear residual on surfaces that keeps on killing house centipedes for up to 3 months.
To use this product, mix half a bottle of solution in a one-gallon sprayer with another half gallon of water. Shake the mixture well and then begin spraying the product in all the areas that house centipedes dwell.
Spray along baseboards and door frames, underneath large appliances, along with the wall frame of closets, throughout the basement, and all in corners and cracks and crevices in bathrooms and kitchens.
As long as the residue is not wiped away, it will keep killing all house centipedes that crawl through it for 3 months.
- Safe to use indoors
- Pet safe when dry
- Virtually no odor or staining
- A low mixing rate is economical
- Labeled for applications in food-handling establishments
- Convenient squeeze and pour container makes measuring and mixing easy
- Will not damage plants, plastics, fabrics, or other surfaces where water alone causes no damage
- Takes time to completely eradicate house centipedes
PT Phantom II Pressurized Insecticide
PT Phantom II Pressurized Insecticide delivers the power and effectiveness of foam insecticide in a convenient and easy-to-use aerosol can. This product provides broad-spectrum control for hiding house centipedes and a residual effect to continue killing centipedes that crawl through the areas it is placed.
Phantom dries clear with no visible residue and delivers long-residual non-repellent control. Plus, it has a transfer effect allowing house centipedes to pick up the residual and spread it to one another through touch and food-sharing, which kills even the pests you don’t see. Only for use in cracks and crevices where house centipedes may be hiding or where they enter the home.
- Aerosol comes with crack and crevice straw for easy application in cracks and crevices.
- Low odor and non-staining formulation.
- Only works well in cracks and crevices
- Not a quick knockdown agent
If you do not like administering powerful chemical sprays throughout your home, a dust formulation that targets house centipedes is a great alternative. Dust also contains a residual-killing mechanism and is best applied with a dust applicator to spread the dust into cracks, crevices, and house centipede hiding spots.
Alpine Dust Insecticide is a contact and residual powder insecticide for crack and crevice, spot, and void treatment. Alpine Dust has two active ingredients for quicker kill broad-spectrum use: Dinotefuran and Diatomaceous Earth.
Dinotefuran is a newer non-repellent active ingredient that the EPA has granted reduced-risk status for public health use. Dinotefuran is part of the insecticide class of neonicotinoids, neuro-active insecticides that are modeled after nicotine.
This chemical acts as a central nervous system inhibitor that takes effect after house centipedes ingest it. Diatomaceous Earth is a completely natural insecticide made of crushed freshwater diatoms (basically tiny algae fossils) directly from the earth.
When insects contact or ingest diatomaceous earth, the scratchy surfaces cut through the waxy coating on the insects’ exoskeleton, causing dehydration and eventual death.
The combination of diatomaceous earth and dinotefuran helps Alpine Dust to work more quickly than many other insecticide dust without sacrificing safety to people or pets. There is also no known house centipede resistance to either active ingredient.
- Broad-spectrum label for use on ants, centipedes, cockroaches, millipedes, spiders, silverfish, and other crawling insects.
- Lightweight for better coverage and more applications per pound than leading dust.
- Not safe for use around pets
Delta Dust Insecticide
DeltaDust containing deltamethrin is the world’s first and only 100% waterproof insecticide dust, so it works in the wet and damp places that house centipedes love. Nothing short of running water will disturb Delta Dust, making this product an ideal crack and crevice treatment.
Delta Dust should be applied with a hand duster which allows you to easily apply the dust in hard-to-reach areas.
One application of Delta Dust will keep on killing house centipedes for up to eight months, which is great for centipedes that come indoors during the winter months. Apply lightly and uniformly to infested areas.
Pay particular attention to cracks and crevices, service ducts, floors and ceilings, wall voids, around water and sewer pipes, under and behind cabinets, refrigerators, and sinks, around windows and door frames, along baseboards, in attics and crawl spaces, and all throughout a basement.
The amount to be applied will vary with the site but should usually be in the range of 2-3 grams of DeltaDust per square yard.
- Safe and effective
- Kills house centipedes for up to 8 months
- Takes time to work effectively
Natural Methods to Get Rid of House Centipedes
There are a few natural remedies that you can use against house centipedes. Some of these choices will kill this pest, while others will only work to repel the centipedes.
NiBor-D Insecticide is a versatile product that has different methods of application and can be used against house centipedes, insect pests, and even mildew, and fungus. The compound in this product is a derivative of boric acid without the corrosive effects that come with that particular substance.
NiBor-D can be applied as a liquid broadcast spray for house centipedes, and you can apply the product in all the common areas in which house centipedes hide and hunt. NiBor-D Insecticide can be used responsibly as part of a Green Pest Management program and is an incredibly effective natural product.
- Non-resistant and toxic to house centipedes
- Natural and safe
- Can kill a wide range of other pests that house centipedes are attracted to
- Has been known to cause mild staining
Other Natural Methods to Consider
Additionally, you can use a range of essential oils to repel house centipedes. Cedar oil and peppermint work best and you create a mixture with water in a spray bottle to saturate entry areas in your home or in areas of the house where you find house centipedes.
What to do if there is a centipede in your room?
If you see a house centipede in your bedroom, it is recommended not to attempt to kill the pest since this will only cause the centipede to quickly run away. There is no use in attempting to kill the centipede outright and you should immediately begin any of the treatment procedures outlined above.
It is a good idea to consider what could have drawn the house centipede into your home in the first place. Is there a leak somewhere? Are you currently dealing with a pest infestation? Are there any gaps or cracks and crevices that easily lead outdoors? It would be helpful to inspect all the hiding areas of house centipedes to confirm if you have an infestation or not.
What do centipedes hate?
House centipedes hate exposure to bright light, and this is usually how people come across the pests in the first place. This species also dislikes cold temperatures and is easily repelled by common essential oils.
Does one centipede mean more?
House centipedes are not like some common pests in that this species does not live within a colony or even a nest of other centipedes.
Seeing one house centipede is not a complete cause for alarm, and some people do not even consider this species a pest at all since they eat nuisance pests and do not always choose to infest indoor structures.
But if you have a large preexisting pest infestation, house centipedes could choose to reproduce inside your home to be as near to food sources as possible. Be sure to inspect all house centipede hiding areas to confirm an infestation.
What happens if you get bit by a house centipede?
House centipedes usually have no interest in people whatsoever. But they can and do occasionally bite people if they are picked up or handled.
This species is venomous; however, a house centipede will only release venom through biting if the target is an insect or a spider that they will be eating.
If you are bitten by a house centipede, there will be a painful pinch that will leave behind a red bump but that is the extent of it. The centipede will likely quickly flee after biting and you do not have to worry about this species seeking you out to bite you.