How To Get Rid of Centipedes (2022 Edition)

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You probably heard that centipedes bite and cause extreme pain in some cases. So, it may seem a bit scary for you to have these creatures wandering around the inside of your home. 

For that reason, we put together this handy guide that will show you:

  • How to Quickly Eliminate Centipedes From Your Home
  • How To Prevent Them From Coming Back
  • How To Tell the Difference Between Centipedes and Millipedes
  • How To Know if You Have an Infestation
Reviewed By:
Ed Spicer

Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!

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Table Of Contents

    How To Get Rid of Centipedes in Your Home 

    DIY homeowners can get relief from centipede infestations. Here, we show you, step-by-step, how to do that. 

    1. Environmental Controls

    Like many crawling pests, centipedes require a fair amount of moisture. As a result, they’re drawn to damp places such as plumbing access points, basements, and crawl spaces. They also gravitate to air conditioning vent lines and runoff areas. 

    Within humid regions, centipedes do well, especially during the summer months. Damp areas, such as bathrooms, should be equipped with exhaust fans to reduce moisture levels. 

    To control humidity within the entire home, consider placing a few dehumidifiers in various locations. Better still, central air conditioning further lowers humidity levels while cooling the air. 

    2. Trapping

    The same sticky traps used to capture mice work well for centipedes. They also provide an easy way to monitor infestation levels. 

    Place some under beds, in closets, and under sinks. While glue traps are not a stand-alone solution, they can aid in capturing centipedes before they have a chance to bite. 

    3. Diatomaceous Earth

    Naturally derived pesticides like diatomaceous earth offer long-term, residual control against centipedes. It works by dehydrating the animal over time. 

    Apply diatomaceous earth with a hand duster for crack and crevice treatments. In addition, you can use it for broadcast dusting of attics and crawl spaces. 

    4. Silica Gels

    Another lesser-known pest control desiccant is silica gel. It works similar to diatomaceous earth by killing crawling pests through dehydration. 

    While silica gel products labeled for pest control are much harder to find, a few are available for home use. They’re typically formulated into a fine dust and often come with a squeeze bottle for added convenience. 

    5. Residual Sprays

    Residual insecticide concentrates containing lambda-cyhalothrin, or bifenthrin are excellent choices to provide long-term control of centipedes. Here are a few tips for using these products around your home.

    1. Use a one-gallon garden sprayer and mix according to label directions. Typically, the lower concentrated dilution rates are recommended for centipedes. 
    2. Apply the spray using a 10-foot wide band, focusing on the area between the ground and the foundation.
    3. Use a two-foot band to spray around windows, doors, service line entries, eaves, and vents. 
    4. For indoor use, spot-treat storage areas, door sweeps, and other pest entry points. 
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    How to Prevent Centipedes 

    Prevention is the best way to control centipedes. With that in mind, the following are some examples of how to keep centipedes from coming back to invade your home. 

    1. Reduce Food Sources

    Centipedes are primarily carnivorous, feeding mostly on insects and spiders. However, during famine periods, they will eat certain plants, confirming their versatility as survivalists. 

    Scientists also consider the centipede a generalist predator, meaning it’s not very choosy about what it hunts. In other words, whatever is available will do nicely. 

    For example:

    • Beetles
    • Termites
    • Spiders
    • Roaches
    • Silverfish

    To limit centipede food sources, it’s prudent to control other crawling pests. For that reason, a general, ongoing pest control program is beneficial for removing not only centipedes but also other pests. 

    2. Limit Access to Moisture

    Centipedes are attracted to moisture, especially within vast desert environments. While humidity levels are not easy to control, there are a few things you can do to keep it from getting worse.

    1. Repair any plumbing leaks inside and outside the home.
    2. Check sprinkler systems regularly to ensure all connections are secure.
    3. Consider draining pools that are not being used.
    4. Set sprinklers on a timer to prevent puddling. 
    5. Remove anything that could create stagnant water traps around your yard, including old tires, baby pools, and buckets.

    3. Modify Centipede Habitat

    Centipedes adapt well to many habitat types, including:

    • Deserts
    • Forests
    • Prairies
    • Savannahs
    • Caves

    No matter where they are, centipedes rely on cover to protect themselves from predators. They also favor cool, damp places to avoid dehydration. 

    In basements, remove clutter where centipedes often hide. That goes for outdoor areas as well. In addition, it’s best to remove mulch and leaf litter regularly to limit centipede harborage. 

    4. Mechanical Exclusion Techniques

    Another way to prevent centipedes from infesting your home is by keeping them out with the same exclusion methods the pros use. Here are some simple steps to take:

    1. Seal pipe entry points with steel wool or expansion foam.
    2. Patch holes in siding created by animal damage with sheet metal or thin pieces of wood. For a more even surface, fill in the void with expansion foam, then smooth over with wood putty. As a finishing touch, sand the area, apply a coating of primer, then paint.
    3. Replace worn weatherstripping on all doors and windows. Also, replace any worn thresholds, kickplates, and door sweeps. 
    4. Caulk window sills and door jambs.
    5. Repair foundation cracks with an epoxy sealant.

    5. Chemical Repellents

    Boric acid dust placed strategically within cracks and crevices can kill centipedes and other household pests such as cockroaches and bed bugs. However, you will need a bulb duster to apply it correctly.

    Another option is to use pyrethrin dust instead. This product can offer a more robust centipede control option within attics, basements, and crawl spaces. It’s also a potent insect killer and works well on other crawly pests. 

    6. Natural Centipede Repellents

    Essential oil repellents are available for centipedes. They typically contain several varieties, including tea tree oil and peppermint. 

    You can also create your own liquid spray repellent. Here’s how:

    1. Mix two ounces of tea tree or peppermint oil into a 32-ounce spray bottle of water. 
    2. Shake vigorously to activate the ingredients.
    3. Spray around doors, baseboards, windows, and entryways.
    4. Apply the solution once a week to keep centipedes and other pests away. 

    7. Monitoring

    Regular monitoring can help you keep track of centipedes and their movement patterns. Utilize the same glue boards you use to trap them. 

    Centipedes are primarily carnivorous, feeding mostly on insects and spiders. However, during famine periods, they will eat certain plants, confirming their versatility as survivalists. 

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    How To Identify Centipedes 

    Characteristics

    Centipedes are arthropods belonging to the subphylum Myriapoda, meaning “many legs.” The house centipede is three to four inches long and has 15 body segments. It’s typically flat and varies in color between orange, dark brown, and yellow. 

    Larger types of centipedes grow to six inches long and are capable of delivering a painful bite. These species are often found in harsh desert environments where they are well equipped to fight off predators. 

    Life Cycle

    Most species of centipede lay between 10 and 50 eggs in soft soil. They can take up to three months to hatch, and most do not survive. Additionally, it can take up to three years to develop into an adult. 

    Centipedes live from three to six years, depending on environmental conditions. Scientists have recently discovered some that live up to eight years. However, this is rare since centipedes have an abundance of natural predators. 

    Centipedes vs. Millipedes

    While there are many similarities between centipedes and millipedes, there are probably more differences. The following are some notable examples. 

    Legs 

    The centipede has one pair of legs per body segment, while the millipede possesses two pairs on most segments. Also, the centipede’s legs are attached to the sides of its body, whereas the millipede’s legs originate from under its body. 

    Food Choices 

    Centipedes prefer to eat live insects and bugs. Millipedes, on the other hand, eat dead plants while sometimes eating live ones during famine periods. 

    Locomotion 

    Centipedes possess long legs used for running fast. Millipedes have short legs designed for burrowing into the soil. They also move quite slowly compared to centipedes. 

    Spiracles 

    The centipede’s spiracles are positioned on the side of its body and are used for breathing. In contrast, the millipede’s spiracles are located on the underside of its body. 

    Are Centipedes Harmful? 

    Large centipede species can inflict a painful bite causing localized numbness, swelling, and discoloration. These symptoms can be elevated enough for those allergic to bee stings, so medical treatment may be necessary. 

    On the other hand, house centipedes have a difficult time penetrating human skin. Even though it is possible, the bites are not all that serious. 


    Signs & Causes of a Centipede Infestation  

    Noticing one or two centipedes in the home within three months does not constitute an infestation. However, when you see two to three every week, it may be time to take action. 

    Peek breeding times are between spring and summer when centipedes typically lay their eggs in moist soil. After that, their populations can grow increasingly until late fall. 

    Florida and the Gulf states appear to have the highest concentration of centipedes in the U.S. This could be due to their wet, semi-tropical climates and warm year-round temperatures. 

    In the northern reaches, centipedes overwinter in warm, moist environments indoors. That is why you can sometimes find them as late as January, in some instances. 

    In the early spring, they venture outdoors to lay their eggs in warm, moist soils. They prefer covered hiding places, such as: 

    • Yard mulch
    • Areas under rocks 
    • Tree bark
    • Tight spaces between rotting boards

    One Final Note

    Centipedes are not inherently dangerous. Still, no one wants to be bitten by one. Also, they can be somewhat frightening in large numbers. 

    Tackling a centipede problem yourself has its challenges, so it’s advisable to seek assistance if you get stuck. There are many exterminators in your area that can help you take on your pest problems with confidence.

    It’s best to find one that is licensed and insured in your area. Also, try not to fall into the trap of believing everything you read or hear. Be sure to research everything.

    That is why we set up this site. Our qualified experts want to help you navigate the complex world of pest control!

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