How to Get Rid of House Centipedes

Follow these tried-and-true methods for eliminating house centipedes from your home.
Written by Katherine Duffy
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
To get rid of house centipedes, try sealing off entry points, using insecticide to create a barrier, or sticky traps to trap them in your home. 
Just about everyone agrees that waking up to a house centipede crawling across your bedroom wall is one of the most disturbing pests to wake up to. House centipedes have a frightening appearance and move incredibly quickly, making even the bravest of homeowners squeamish. While house centipedes aren’t the most destructive pests, their appearance alone is enough to want to get rid of them.
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How to tell if you’ve got a house centipede problem 

House centipedes are typically solitary creatures that don’t create webs or nests. Unfortunately, their solo nature makes it incredibly difficult to tell if you have a house centipede problem without regularly seeing these unsightly pests in your home.
Full-on infestations are rare, but not impossible. House centipedes don’t damage your home and aren’t interested in your food, so the only way to know you’re dealing with these unwanted guests is if you see them. Watch out for house centipedes in cool, damp areas like cement floor basements or cellars, closets, bathrooms, and sometimes sinks and bathtubs. 

Should you worry about house centipedes? 

While these creepy-crawly home invaders may look menacing, house centipedes on their own pose little threat to your home or your safety. House centipedes aren’t interested in destroying your house, clothes, or food, and they aren’t poisonous to humans or pets.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want to get rid of them. On the contrary, House centipedes are unsightly and can be startling to come across, especially at night when they’re most active. 
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While you may not need to worry much about house centipedes damaging your home, you should worry about why they’re attracted to your home in the first place. 

What attracts house centipedes to your home 

House centipedes are carnivorous arthropods that eat other pests like termites, silverfish, spiders, moths, flies, and cockroaches. If you’re consistently noticing centipedes crawling around your home, chances are you have a bigger, more serious pest infestation to deal with! 

Five ways to get rid of house centipedes 

Even though centipedes don’t do much damage, no one wants to deal with these long-legged creatures lurking about their home. Thankfully, there are many tried-and-true methods of eliminating centipedes from your home. 
  1. Eliminate their food source. Centipedes are interested in your home for just one reason: the other pests that live there. If you can figure out which other pest is invading your home and target that infestation, your centipede problem is likely to disappear, as they’ll have to move on to a more dependable food source. Think of this method as killing two birds with one stone! 
  2. Reduce moisture. Centipedes love damp areas. If you’re consistently noticing centipedes in a certain area of your home prone to dampness, buy a dehumidifier and set it up in this area to dissuade centipedes from entering your home.
  3. Seal off any access points. Investigate your basement, bathroom, and closet space for gaps the centipedes could be crawling through, and use an expanding foam spray to seal off these gaps. This method will keep future pests out as well!
  4. Remove and kill on sight. Centipedes are typically solitary, so if you see one, it could be the only one in your home. The fastest and easiest way to get rid of a centipede is by squishing it with your shoe or trapping it in a jar and setting it free outside. Centipedes kill other pests, so catching and releasing might be a more efficient form of pest control on your property. 
  5. Create a pesticide barrier. You can use synthetic or natural pesticides inside your home to deter centipedes and other pests from crossing your pesticide barrier. Many spray pesticides are approved for indoor use, but be sure they’re child and pet-friendly before using them in your home. 
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How an exterminator gets rid of house centipedes—and when to call them 

You’ll rarely need an exterminator for centipedes. Still, there are two situations where professional help is warranted: either you’ve tried all of the above methods, and nothing is working, or you’ve identified a more significant pest problem that you’re having problems getting rid of as well. 
Here’s how exterminators approach a house centipede problem: 
  1. They investigate. Exterminators will explore all the nooks and crannies to find out how the centipedes enter and, more importantly, what their food source is. Hopefully, they’ll locate gaps in your home that have let the centipedes in, as well as the more serious pest infestation that sustains your centipede problem.
  2. They treat. Depending on what your primary pest invasion is, your exterminator will use different treatment methods to eradicate the infestation. Then, they’ll target the centipedes by trapping and using pesticides. Your exterminator will put preventative measures in place, like sealing off gaps and a pesticide barrier, to stop infestations from happening again.
  3. They’ll check in. A professional exterminator knows that the problem doesn’t necessarily stop when they leave. They’ll return to your home in a specified number of weeks or months to make sure the problem hasn’t reemerged and that you don’t have any other concerns. 

How to keep house centipedes out of your house 

The best way to get rid of house centipedes is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Here are a few things you can do to deter these unwelcome guests from taking up residency: 
Keep a dehumidifier running. By constantly keeping the air in your home dry, you’ll deter pests, such as house centipedes, that thrive in damp environments and moist air. 
Stay vigilant about other pests. Take action immediately if you notice signs of other pest presences in your home. If you can eliminate other pests such as termites, ants, flies, silverfish, and cockroaches early on, you’ll deplete centipedes of their food source and dissuade them from entering your home. 
Keep damp areas clean. During the day, centipedes search for dark places to hide, such as under boxes, in moist towels, in dark corners, and in general clutter. If you reduce the number of hiding spaces for centipedes to find respite under, they won’t be able to live in your home. 

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House centipedes carry a small amount of venom to kill their prey, which is usually another house pest. This venom is not enough to harm a human or an animal. House centipedes rarely bite, and if they do, you may notice some redness and swelling. Treat it like a regular bug bite and it should heal with no complications.
House centipedes are carnivorous and eat other house pests like flies, silverfish, spiders, ants, termites, cockroaches, and other unwelcome guests. For this reason, they can be helpful when trying to control a pest infestation.
While it’s usually unnecessary, an exterminator can eliminate house centipedes. Before tackling the centipede problem, the exterminator will usually target the centipedes’ food source first. They’ll usually use trapping and pesticides to eliminate them.
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