How to effectively get rid of centipedes in the house
To get rid of centipedes in the house, you need to follow a 2-step process that includes humidity and food supply. Centipedes are invertebrates with an exoskeleton, multiple pairs of legs, and inhabit most parts of the world. About 3,000 species of centipedes are known, with from 15 to over 300 legs.
As adaptable as they are, they always need a moist environment to survive because they lack the waxy protective cuticle of insects or spiders. Hence their preference for stones, piles of leaves or vegetation, wood, etc. In the spring they come out to breed, and in the fall they are lured indoors, looking for warmth and food. Because of their need for moisture, they are usually located in areas of the house that mimic their natural environment, such as basements, kitchen sinks, laundromats, or laundry rooms.
The common house centipede is called Scutigera Coleoptrata and like all centipedes it is a predator. The house centipede is 1 to 2 inches long and has 15 pairs of legs developed in several molts from an original set of only 4 legs when newly hatched. Other larger centipedes such as tropicals Scolopendromorpha are born directly with 21 pairs of shorter legs and flexible segments, can reach gigantic sizes of up to 12 inches (30 cm) and feed on mice, lizards, frogs and even tarantulas, while the house centipede has a rigidly segmented body with a long and fast legs and feeds on other household pests. Unlike other types of centipedes, the house centipede has good vision, but it also catches its prey with the help of antennae.
Typical victims of household centipedes include ants, termites, bed bugs, spiders and cockroach nymphs, as well as opportunistic kitchen scraps. They hunt at night and this is when they are usually spotted. Ultimately, the house centipede provides a good service because it naturally preys on other unwanted household pests that are objectively much more dangerous than the centipede itself. Just think of the many germs and diseases transmitted by cockroaches, fleas (including the historic bubonic plague via rat fleas), or blood-feeding bed bugs. Centipedes do not chase people or pose a health hazard like other pests, but there are 2 reasons why homeowners want to get rid of centipedes in the house the moment they see one.
One reason is that their presence can be a telltale sign that there is another infestation that the centipede is feeding on. The other reason is just their appearance. Centipedes are pretty disgusting. Combine that with their speed and maneuverability and you have a horror movie like a living creature, right in the middle of your room. Unfortunately, until centipedes have a reason to leave, they will stay and breed. So the solution to eliminating them is to give them a reason to leave.
How to get rid of centipedes in the house then? Tidy up the mess in the bathroom, kitchen, basement, and any known damp places where centipedes hang out. Use dehumidifiers and desiccators to dry the environment as much as possible and provide maximum ventilation. This way the centipedes will have a hard time keeping their body moist and may want to leave.
If their presence is persistent, it may be a sign that they have found a steady supply of food to feed on. This means that you may have more than just a centipede problem, but also cockroaches, ants, or any other insects that entice the centipede to stay. In this case, you may need to follow a 2-step pest control procedure, both indoors and outdoors, to get rid of all pests, including the top of the food chain, the centipedes themselves.
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