8 Best Ways To Get Rid Of House Centipedes

We must admit that house centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) can make us squeamish at the mere thought of them and definitely at the sight of them. Although if we are honest, spiders can have that same effect on us as well. According to Bob Vila, as it turns out, spiders, along with fleas, cockroaches, termites, silverfish, and moths make the ideal hearty meal for house centipedes. So they aren't completely unfortunate to have in your home.

Additionally, seeing a house centipede isn't generally a cause for major concern for humans. This is because this form of centipede doesn't cause harm to people or animals, and receiving a bite from them is extremely rare (if they do, you may only experience a mild amount of pain since they can't break through the skin, per Orkin). Still, just knowing that you have to live with them is understandably off-putting. To that end, if you want your home free of house centipedes, here are ways to get rid of the creepy crawlies to make your living situation squirm-free.

1. Get rid of moisture

If you happen to be down in your basement or live in, say, a garden apartment, this is where you may see house centipedes because they love both the dark and the areas of a home that have more moisture. So your first line of defense against these creatures is to make it really uncomfortable for them to live there — meaning control the humidity and get rid of any excess moisture. If your home's humidity is higher than 50 percent, per Energy Star, that is not ideal as it is the perfect atmosphere for house centipedes. So what's ideal for humidity? You'll want to keep that between 30 and 50 percent so you can avoid making an home for these pests.

According to Husky Heating and Air Conditioning, a Toronto-based company, there are a few things you can do to lower the humidity in your home. Consider adding exhaust fans, taking cooler showers, and fixing leaking and broken pipes (which can attract rodents, too), and purchase a dehumidifier; all of these can help keep your humidity lower and house centipedes at bay!

2. Reduce clutter

Cleaning up the clutter in your home always makes you feel good. How many times have you been in a bit of a mood and looked around at the piles of clutter, which made you feel worse? Parkway Pest Services, a New York-based pest control service, notes that tidying up can get rid of the hiding spots for house centipedes. Now tell us, have you ever been more inclined to clear all of the clutter out of your home? We think not. So go ahead and get rid of the old things you no longer need, and we can guarantee that you'll see fewer of these insects — that have anywhere from 15 to 177 legs. Yikes!

Orkin also calls excessive clutter the ideal habitat for these hideous creatures, so take the time to remove centipedes' comfortable homes while giving you a nicer space to live and work in.

3. Remove centipede food sources

By the way, these creepy-looking house centipedes are carnivores. As we mentioned, these predators eat many insects in our homes that most people are not fans of, from tiny spiders to cockroaches, per Orkin. So, if you eliminate their food source, centipedes will ultimately go elsewhere for their meal — and let's hope that would be leaving your property!

According to Plunkett's Pest Control, a service that operates in several states nationwide, house centipedes can eat multiple insects each day. To that end, controlling how many you have in your home can really make a significant difference in how many house centipedes you may spot in your residence. Per Safer Brand, there are several ways to eliminate unappealing insects from your home, including Neem or peppermint oil. Traps are also an excellent method of removal, and can be found in most stores or online on Amazon. Diatomaceous earth is a product that kills insects such as fleas, roaches, bed bugs, ants, and even earwigs. There are even some strange plants that can eat bugs as well, so it might not be a bad idea to add more greenery to your home.

4. Create a barrier

Just as you may want to add extra security to protect your home from intruders, you may want to shield your home from the insect variety as well. When the weather turns cold, these house centipedes look for a lovely home that has plenty of the food they love, the water they need, and warmth from the cold. So how do you block them from entering your home, you ask? You do this by creating a barrier around the entire perimeter of your home.

Indeed, one way to keep house centipedes from entering your home is to purchase Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter. Spray the product along your home's foundation outside, including around the windows and doors, since centipedes can easily slip through the cracks ... literally. BBPP, a Toronto-based pest control service, has a natural suggestion that they say centipedes and spiders hate, which is cayenne pepper. They advise you to sprinkle some on the inside and outside of the home where these pests can enter, a major deterrent.

5. Seal cracks and holes in walls and windows

After you've created your barrier (a shield, so to speak) around your home, you can now ensure that you seal any cracks or holes, which can be done on the outside and inside of your home. Check everything, including your walls, foundation, windows (including the screens that should be tightly fitted), and doors to ensure that everything is adequately sealed, per Bio Advanced. If there are cracks, they suggest caulking around these spots, which is really the ultimate barrier to keep house centipedes from infiltrating your space. Additionally, maintain leaf debris, keep trees trimmed near windows, don't keep firewood inside your home, and make sure your downspouts are directed so water and moisture (this is what centipedes love!) stays away from your home.

According to the Family Handyman, sealing these cracks can make house centipedes have no comfortable place to lay eggs, too. We bet you didn't think of that scenario because we didn't!

6. Use sticky traps

According to Bob Vila, sticky traps can be an excellent way to eliminate house centipedes and other creepy creatures, such as spiders and other bugs. The outlet says to place them by baseboards and in the corner of a room, which makes plenty of sense when we think about it, since that's the spot where we are constantly trying to get rid of spider webs. Since house centipedes love to feast on spiders, you may find them lurking there, ready to inject their prey with their venom. 

One popular brand of sticky traps is the Catchmaster centipede trap, which kills house centipedes and spiders, as well as millipedes, silverfish, cockroaches, scorpions, and other unappealing bugs. If you want to make a DIY sticky trap for your home instead, My Move, a resource for moving, suggests adding petroleum jelly to a heavy stock paper for a similar effect.

7. Humanely remove centipedes

If you don't want to kill your house centipedes with a shoe or a rolled-up magazine, then you can humanely remove them from your home instead — that is, if you can catch them! You may not see them during the day because they are nocturnal creatures, but that doesn't mean that the centipedes aren't there! According to Western Exterminator Company, these pests can move extremely fast — they say 1.3 feet per second, which is very quick if you ask us — and their speed gives them plenty of time to scurry away and hide.

Bob Vila suggests catching house centipedes the same way you would an eight-legged nuisance: catch them in a jar or cup, then quickly slide a piece of paper to cover the top, keeping them trapped ... then take it outside. If you want to avoid the centipede re-entering your home, we suggest releasing it far away.

8. Call the professionals

Suppose you have tried all of the above methods to no avail or notice an unhealthy infestation of house centipedes. Family Handyman notes that if your atmosphere is welcoming (ahem, plenty of food, and a dark, damp place to nest), you may have a problem. In that case, it may be time to call in professional exterminators to rid yourself of these critters. My Move adds there are indeed times when you should hire a professional, and that is when you are doing everything suggested, but nothing is working. If the centipedes keep reappearing over and over or if you notice plenty of other creepy crawlies such as spiders (which means house centipedes have plenty of food to feast on), then unfortunately, you will keep them inside your home.

Landmark Home Warranty explains that if you see centipedes everywhere, there really could be a problem. So if you have tried all other options, a professional will know the proper techniques to rid the centipedes from your home once and for all.