Centipedes are creepy-crawly pests that can be a nuisance when they invade your home. Not only can they be unsettling to encounter, but some species may also deliver painful bites if disturbed.
In this article, we’ll explore how to identify a centipede problem, prevent them from entering your home, and get rid of them if they’ve already invaded.
How do I Identify Centipede’s problem?
Centipedes can be unsettling and sometimes dangerous houseguests. To tackle a centipede problem, you must first learn to identify the signs of their presence. Here are five indicators that centipedes may have invaded your home.
Sign 1: Sightings of centipedes in your home
The most apparent sign of a centipede problem is actually seeing them inside your house. They typically prefer damp or humid areas, such as basements, bathrooms, or crawlspaces. If you spot centipedes in these areas, it is a clear indication that they’ve found their way into your home.
Sign 2: Discovering shed skins or exoskeletons
Centipedes, like other arthropods, shed their exoskeleton as they grow. This process, known as molting, leaves behind a cast-off exoskeleton that looks like a translucent replica of the centipede. If you find these shed skins around your home, it could be a sign that centipedes are present and growing in numbers.
Sign 3: Finding small bite marks on plants or other organic materials
Although centipedes are carnivorous and primarily feed on insects, they may occasionally nibble on plants or other organic materials. Centipedes have powerful jaws that can leave small, jagged bite marks on leaves, fruits, or other items. If you notice these bite marks around your home, it could be a sign of a centipede problem.
Sign 4: Presence of damp or humid areas
Centipedes thrive in moist environments, and their presence in your home could indicate a moisture problem. Check your home for damp or humid areas, such as basements, bathrooms, and crawlspaces. If you find excessive moisture, it’s essential to address the issue, not only to deter centipedes but also to prevent other potential problems like mold and mildew.
Sign 5: Unusual small insect carcasses
Centipedes are predators that feed on other small insects, such as spiders, ants, and silverfish. If you find an unusual number of small insect carcasses around your home, it could be a sign that centipedes are present and hunting for food. Pay attention to areas where insects are likely to congregate, such as near windows or light fixtures.
How Do I Prevent Centipedes From Entering My House?
Preventing centipedes from entering your home is crucial to maintaining a comfortable and pest-free environment. By implementing the following seven methods, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of centipedes finding their way into your living space.
Method 1: Seal any cracks and crevices in the foundation or walls
Inspect your home’s exterior for any potential entry points, such as cracks in the foundation, gaps in siding, or openings around utility lines. Seal these openings with caulk or other appropriate materials to create a barrier that prevents centipedes from entering your home.
Method 2: Install door sweeps and window screens
Ensure that all doors and windows are properly sealed to prevent centipedes from slipping through small gaps. Install door sweeps on exterior doors and use weatherstripping to seal any remaining gaps. Additionally, check your window screens for holes or tears and repair or replace them as needed.
Method 3: Keep your home clean and clutter-free
Centipedes are attracted to cluttered spaces, as they provide hiding places and food sources. Maintain a clean and organized home by regularly vacuuming, dusting, and removing any unnecessary items. This will help limit the places centipedes can hide and the insects they can feed on.
Method 4: Maintain proper drainage around your home
Centipedes thrive in damp environments, so it’s essential to ensure that water is draining away from your home properly. Check your gutters and downspouts for debris and ensure they’re directing water away from your foundation. Also, make sure the ground slopes away from your home to prevent water from pooling near the foundation.
Method 5: Store firewood, compost, and mulch away from the house
Firewood, compost, and mulch can provide ideal habitats for centipedes and other pests. To prevent them from getting close to your home, store these materials at least 20 feet away from your house and, if possible, elevate them off the ground.
Method 6: Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in damp areas
By reducing humidity in your home, you make it less hospitable to centipedes. Use a dehumidifier in damp areas like basements or crawlspaces to help maintain a lower moisture level. Additionally, make sure that exhaust fans are installed and functioning properly in bathrooms and kitchens to remove excess moisture.
Method 7: Regularly clean and vacuum to remove potential food sources
Centipedes feed on other insects, so it’s important to limit their food sources by maintaining a clean environment. Vacuum regularly to pick up any insects that may have wandered into your home, and clean up any food debris that could attract insects.
What Can I Do To Get Rid Of Centipedes?
If you’ve discovered centipedes in your home, it’s time to take action. The following nine methods can help you eliminate centipedes and ensure they don’t return.
Use sticky traps in areas where centipedes are commonly found
Place sticky traps in damp, dark locations, such as basements, crawlspaces, and bathrooms, to catch wandering centipedes. Check the traps regularly and replace them as needed to maintain their effectiveness.
Apply diatomaceous earth or boric acid around entry points and in hiding spots
Diatomaceous earth and boric acid are natural substances that can help kill centipedes by damaging their exoskeletons. Sprinkle these powders around potential entry points, along baseboards, and in areas where centipedes are likely to hide. Remember to reapply after vacuuming or cleaning the area.
Use a vacuum to remove centipedes and their egg sacs
A vacuum can be an effective tool for removing centipedes and their egg sacs from your home. Use a vacuum with a hose attachment to reach into corners, crevices, and other hiding spots. Be sure to empty the vacuum canister or bag outside to prevent the centipedes from escaping back into your home.
Introduce natural predators, such as house centipede hunters
House centipede hunters (Scutigera coleoptrata) are a species of centipede that prey on other household pests, including other centipedes. Although they may look intimidating, they are generally harmless to humans and can help control centipede populations in your home.
Utilize insecticides labeled for centipedes, following the manufacturer’s instructions
Insecticides specifically designed for centipedes can be an effective way to eliminate these pests. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and safety precautions. Remember that insecticides should be used as a last resort, and always prioritize the safety of your family and pets.
Keep your outdoor lights off at night to avoid attracting insects
Outdoor lights can attract insects, which in turn can draw centipedes to your home. To reduce the chances of this happening, turn off outdoor lights at night, or consider using yellow “bug lights” that are less attractive to insects.
Remove debris, leaf litter, and rocks from your yard to eliminate hiding places
Centipedes often hide in debris, leaf litter, and rocks in your yard. By removing these hiding places, you can reduce the chances of centipedes finding their way into your home. Keep your yard clean and free of clutter to discourage centipedes from settling nearby.
Hire a professional pest control service
If your centipede problem persists despite your efforts, consider hiring a professional pest control service. They have the expertise and tools necessary to deal with centipede infestations effectively and can recommend long-term solutions to prevent future problems.
Maintain regular pest control treatments to keep centipedes away
Consistent pest control treatments can help prevent centipedes and other pests from becoming a problem in your home. Work with a professional pest control company to establish a regular treatment schedule that suits your needs and keeps your home centipede-free.
Getting rid of centipedes in your home involves a combination of prevention, identification, and targeted elimination methods. It is crucial to identify the signs of a centipede problem and address any underlying issues, such as moisture problems or entry points, to prevent further infestations.
By implementing preventive measures like sealing cracks, reducing clutter, and maintaining proper drainage, you can create an environment that is less inviting for centipedes.
Should centipedes find their way into your home, use a variety of methods such as sticky traps, natural substances like diatomaceous earth or boric acid, and professional pest control services to effectively eliminate these unwelcome pests.