For some homeowners, the thought of seeing just one house centipede squirming around their bathtub or toilet bowl is enough to send them into a panic. Fortunately, centipedes are not a large danger to humans, though they may bite when they feel threatened. Once the shock of discovering these tiny intruders wears off, you’ll start to wonder why you have so many house centipedes in the first place. Even though they won’t seriously harm you, you don’t want to handle them or let them roam free. Learn how to get rid of centipedes in your house using the tips and information below.
How to Identify Centipedes in Your Home
For starters, centipedes are arthropods, which means they are invertebrates with segmented bodies and exoskeletons. Adults have fifteen pairs of legs that are long and striped—sometimes even longer than the body. They use these long legs to move around quickly, making them difficult to catch. Their bodies grow to be about three to six centimeters long and are brown or grey with purple or bluish stripes.
If you can catch up to one, the best course of action is to smash it or trap it under a glass and use a piece of paper to keep it inside the glass while you relocate it. Do not try to pick it up—it may become frightened and bite you out of self-defense.
Why Do Centipedes Come Into Homes?
Centipedes don’t invade homes without a reason. Several things can make your home irresistible to centipedes, including moisture and other common household pests. They may be small and unassuming, but centipedes are natural predators. They look for prey such as bed bugs, worms, spiders, fleas, flies, termites, moths, and more.
If you have any of these problems or pests, you may expect to see more house centipedes in the future. Fortunately, unlike many other pests, they are typically uninterested in your food, so you are less likely to find them in your pantry or kitchen cupboards. Here are a few ideas on how to get rid of house centipedes before they start inviting their friends and family to the party.
1. COOL DOWN AND DRY OUT YOUR HOME
Since house centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) spend all or most of their lives in moist conditions, such as under rocks and inside tree logs, the pests will enter your house if the environment is moist and humid enough. If you cool down and dry out your home, you may be able to eliminate your centipede problem.
Search Your Home
The first thing you can do is go around your home and search for signs of water and moisture in your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and basement. Look for leaking plumbing pipes, wet tile, damp cabinetry, and anything else that could potentially create moisture. Write down exactly what you find so that you can fix it later.
Also, check your attic during your inspection. If your attic is unventilated, it can trap heat and moisture during the year. Not only can these unsavory conditions increase your energy expenses and encourage mold growth, but they can also attract house centipedes.
Make Some Changes
Once you complete your search, take action to fix or solve the things you wrote down. You want to repair the biggest issues first, such as placing ventilation in your attic, repairing broken plumbing pipes, and replacing wet cabinetry. You may need to hire a plumber or roofer to help you complete these types of jobs.
You can solve the smallest issues yourself. For example, to make your house less humid during the day, turn on your ceiling fans or place circulating fans in each of your largest rooms. If you feel safe enough to do so, crack or open up your windows at night. The cool breeze can help remove some of the humid air in your home.
Some homeowners dry out their homes with dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers work by drawing moisture from the air. The environment may also feel cooler and more comfortable for you. If you choose to dehumidify your house, use equipment that covers the entire structure.
If cooling down and drying out your house doesn’t eliminate your centipede problem, you’ll need to look for one more thing. You’ll need to seek out and remove the pest’s prey.
2. MAKE YOUR HOME AS PEST-FREE AS POSSIBLE
Scutigera coleoptrata is a top predator that feeds on spiders, bed bugs, and other types of household pests. If these pests overrun your home, so will centipedes. By turning your home into a pest-free environment, you can eliminate or deter the presence of centipedes.
Look for Pests
Because some insects can bite or spread disease, you want to take precautions when you search for centipede prey. For instance, don’t blindly stick your hands or face into any dark places during your search. Use a flashlight to look behind your sink cabinets, under your refrigerator, and in the nooks and crannies of your closets.
If you spot multiple cockroaches, spiders, or other insects in the places above, don’t use bug sprays to get rid of them. Not all chemical sprays treat the same insects. In addition, the fumes can be toxic enough to cause respiratory distress. Instead, call in a professional pest control provider for the help you need.
3. ELIMINATE NESTING LOCATIONS
Another reason centipedes hang around your property is because they’ve found a comfortable place to live. Check your yard and around your foundation for tall weeds or grass, woodpiles, and other objects they could hide in or under. Learn how to get rid of centipedes in your yard before they get into your home.
Clean Up Your Yard
It may be necessary to remove some clutter or get some yard work done to eliminate your centipede problem. Tallgrass and weeds are a great place for centipedes to hide, especially if they are frequently wet from watering or rainfall. If these spots are near your foundation, pests can use the plants for cover while finding entrances into your home.
Other items to move, remove or clean up include woodpiles, cars or car parts that sit for long periods, water features that sit stagnant, appliances, tools, toys, and anything else that provides cover, collects moisture, or does not move.
Call a Professional
Pest control contractors may use a number of methods to make your home as pest-free as possible. One of the most effective pest control methods is exclusion. Exclusion requires sealing up all the crevices, cracks, and openings in your home that allow pests to enter it.
Many pest control specialists use residential treatment programs to keep pests out of homes. The programs may include removing or knocking down occupied and unoccupied spider webs and placing special granular treatments around the home. Professionals may also spray unique chemicals around the perimeter of the house to keep pests out.
Once pest control removes or eliminates the presence of spiders and other prey in your home, centipedes may stop entering your home altogether. Centipedes can’t survive inside a home that lacks a viable source of food or moisture. If you find dead centipedes in your home in the future, remove them with a large vacuum or broom.
If centipedes, or any other pest, invade your home, contact American Pest Control Inc. for help. You can also opt for quarterly services that will help prevent pests from showing up or returning in the future. Speak to an expert to learn more about how to get rid of centipedes in your house and creating a pest control plan that fits your needs.