A house centipede infestation is a surprisingly common pest control problem. Centipedes do bite, are fast little movers and, contrary to what the name suggests, these insects can have more or less than 100 legs. Found in combined shades of brown and red, centipedes generally live outdoors in damp areas but they also find their way into your house, usually in search of other bugs. House centipedes, like their house millipede cousins, are arthropods, yet unlike millipedes, they possess venomous fangs which they use to hunt prey. While the bite is painful, the damage is minor. If you are wondering how to get rid of centipedes, or what kills them, then don’t worry. If you have an infestation, then try our natural home remedies for centipedes before you hire an exterminator.
House Centipede Infestation
Many people wonder whether house centipedes bite. Unfortunately, like most other centipedes, house centipedes do have poison glands and on occasion will deliver a minor, but painful bite if handled. For this reason, a centipede infestation should be treated quickly.
The signs of a centipede house infestation are not immediately obvious. House centipedes tend to be nocturnal, finding a small crevice to spend the daylight hours. If you have centipedes in the house, you may not notice them as they hunt mainly at night.
They are also fast little critters, clocking up an impressive 15 inches a second. Blink and you’ll miss them.
If you are wondering what attracts centipedes to your house, then the answer is simple -food and shelter. Centipedes are voracious killers feeding on other small invertebrates. House infestations occur when there is an abundance of food. They will eat earwigs, spiders, ants, silverfish, and flies all of which are common in many homes.
Also, like any organism, they will seek out an environment suitable for their needs. House centipedes do not hold moisture well and need to be in a damp environment to thrive. Households that are damp are just the place. Infestations typically occur in damper parts of the home such as basements, and bathrooms etc.
Likewise, centipedes can enter houses seeking out warmth and shelter from the cold. A house that is not correctly sealed is an open invitation. Fortunately, an infestation of house centipedes is one of the easier house pests to deal with and will not require an exterminator. Instead, try these home remedies to get rid of centipedes for good.
1) Cayenne Pepper
The chilly plant uses capsaicin as a natural insect repellant in the wild as part of its defense mechanism to avoid being eaten.
While chilly is a pleasure/pain sensation for a human, to the centipede, it is to be avoided at all costs.
Sprinkle cayenne pepper at entry points of your home, both at the interiors and exteriors.
2) Boric Acid
If you are wondering how to kill centipedes, then boric acid is your answer.
You can buy it from any hardware shop and you can sprinkle it liberally without fear of toxicity to children and pets.
Boric acid doesn’t kill centipedes immediately but will take a few days to work. If a centipede comes into contact with the powder, it will ingest it. The boron in the centipede repellent builds up in the insect’s body as they are unable to excrete it.
After a few days, the centipedes will die or dehydration of starvation as the boric acid effects the centipede’s ability to absorb nutrients or may scratch their exoskeleton causing the insect to dry out.
3) Diatomaceous Earth
However, it is a natural insecticide and a fantastic home remedy for centipedes. It kills centipedes by desiccating or scorching them, scratching their exoskeleton and allowing moisture to escape.
The powder can be sprinkled liberally across the home (as you would use boric acid) as it is harmless to pets and humans. Remember to put on a mask/respirator during application so as not to breathe the powder. (1)
Many plants have evolved the ability to fight off insect attack. The essential oils extracted from these plants can be used as a natural insecticide for centipedes.
It also works as a centipede repellent.
Neem oil is an essential oil that has effective insecticide properties and is so good, it is used in commercial agricultural applications.
The compounds found in neem oil are ingested by the centipede when it comes into contact and it will upset the insect’s hormonal system. The centipede’s whole life cycle is disrupted as it will stop eating and mating. (2).
Cedar oil is another natural insecticide to get rid of house centipedes. It is effective against all insects and arthropods.
The oil causes the centipede to suffer from osmotic dehydration and suffocation. Also, cedar oil will emulsify the centipede’s body fats, finally killing them. (3)
Spray the home and basement with cedar oil solution and outside, use cedar wood chippings in flower beds and yards.
6) Soap Spray
Water and dish soap is the most widely used natural centipede repellent. As its so cheap and easily available, it’s not hard to see why.
Detergents and soaps work as a centipede insecticide by causing them to dehydrate and die.(4) The soap removes the wax and oils that cover the insect’s exoskeletons allowing water to escape.
Make soap spray by adding 2 to 3 tablespoon of liquid dish soap to a gallon of warm water and shake well. Spray the soap solution in areas where centipedes frequent.
Applying soap spray directly on the centipedes will kill them quickly.
7) Start With The Surroundings
Remove compost piles, trash, stones, rocks, leaves and building materials that centipedes make their home.
If you have leaves and firewood piled up in your backyard, the chances are that these could be the centipedes’ entry points. By removing such shelters you can prevent centipedes entering into your house in the first place.
If you can’t clear your firewood, sprinkle cedar wood chippings liberally over the logs.
8) Seal your home
The first rule of thumb for controlling a house centipede infestation is to stop the critters from entering your property in the first place. No one home is the same so you must do a thorough check for potential entry points.
- Caulking is the quickest and easiest way to block the holes
- Use expandable foam for larger holes
- Cover vents
- Repoint brickwork
- Centipedes find their way inside from your drains. Repair holes or loose fittings in your external drains. Check for leakage and blockages in pipes.
9) Stop Food Supply
Centipedes prey on insects and household pests. To get rid of centipedes’ food supply, you should really see the insects in your house as an ecosystem. Rather than target one pest, tackle the entire food chain that the centipede relies on.
Rotting vegetation and wood piles attract earwigs. If you remove wood and plant debris, you will get rid of earwigs and the centipedes will find somewhere else to hunt.
10) Keep Your Home Moist-Free
Use dehumidifiers and keep your basements and closets dry. By dehumidifying the moisture is drawn out of the air thereby making your home unfriendly to centipedes.
11) Sticky Traps
Sticky traps not only capture centipedes but also their prey. Hence, the reward is higher as you not only get rid of centipedes but other insects that have been on your hit list. Put sticky traps in areas where centipedes frequent. Centipedes will walk into the trap during their hunting sessions at night.
- Seal your house to prevent centipedes from slipping in.
- Keep your house dry
- Keep debris far from the house
- Keep all your rooms neat and tidy with nowhere for the centipede to hide.
- Don’t handle centipedes. They do bite with venom
- Don’t use commercial insecticides. Home remedies to get rid if centipedes work and are kinder to pollinating insects.