How to Get Rid of Centipedes | 9 Easy Ways


Insects and pests aren’t everyone’s favorite creatures to look at, and that’s fine. However, what would you do when you see a centipede crawling and charging towards you? Sounds pretty gory, doesn’t it? Well, that is where you need to step up your game. You’d be surprised to know that the type of centipede that you see in your garden or even hanging around the window sill isn’t the only kind. There are over 2000 different varieties of centipedes that are present in the world.

But, how to get rid of centipedes? This is a common question everyone struggles with. Should you kill them right on the spot, or do you opt for some other trick if the infestation is widespread?

Centipedes, in general, aren’t fatal. They are sometimes even helpful in keeping the spiders and other insects at bay. However, the centipede bite does contain venom, which can prove bad for your health in the long run. So, it is always better if you practice caution.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Silverfish? | 10 Easy & Effective Ways

What are House Centipedes?

Centipedes that grow up to 1.5 inches in length and have greyish-yellow dark stripes on their backs are called house centipedes. They have their body divided into 15 equal segments, which make it exquisite to look at. House centipedes don’t stay in groups and like their own space, which is why you wouldn’t normally find them in troops traipsing around the backyard. This also means that they are easy to get rid of as they don’t infest quickly.

Besides the gardens and window sills, you can also find them around tubs and sinks, which is another reason they have a habit of being persistently found around in the bathrooms and the kitchens more often.

Who Do the Centipedes Feed Upon?

Centipedes, despite their small size, are quite the hunters and are consistently looking for good. They often rely on other insects smaller than them for food, which is why you will find them roaming around the perimeter of the house instead of being localized in just one spot.

Some of their common foods include moths, spiders, silverfish, etc. So, if you find them moving around one space, it is likely because they are in search of food around.

List of Ways to Get Rid of Centipedes

Even though they aren’t fatal, just seeing a centipede in front of you, especially in your home, is going to be extremely taxing. So, it isn’t even a question at this point that you need to get rid of the same without letting things go out of hand.

Yes, there are some effective preventive measures, and then there are some ways you can get rid of them if the infestation has already happened. We are going to break them down for you in this section.

1. Reduce Moisture in your Home

It is a common ground for every insect infestation. Pests and insects are drawn towards the moisture-filled areas in your home, which is a reason why you should check for leaks and other complications that arise in your house. If damp is seeping through the wall, get it fixed before mushrooms start growing on it. Sometimes, a simple switch to your home can take you a long way.

So, start by scoping your home and look for unwarranted moisture sources. It can be on the walls creating a damp. It could be due to a leaking pipeline that you aren’t aware of, or it could be due to the rising humidity in the weather around you. The possibilities are endless. You just need to ensure that you get them right.

2. Get Rid of Clutter

If you have all your items in the house cluttered in one space, that itself is a reason why you might have centipedes crawling around in your home. This is where you need to intervene. Instead of letting things get out of hand, take charge.

Go through your home, individual rooms, basement, and even the garage and check for items that no longer use for you. Get them and throw them out. If they are in good shape, you can conduct a yard sale and get rid of them for lower prices. Sometimes, if nothing works, donate the items that you no longer need instead of keeping them hostage in your home.

3. Try Sticky Tape Traps 

There is a range of commercially available traps in the market that you can use to catch the centipedes and eventually release them somewhere else. There are sticky tape traps that you can use to capture them. However, with sticky tape traps, you need to find the spots that they most frequent. Once you know the sports, it becomes easier for you to place the trap and eventually catch them before they start crawling out.

These sticky tape traps are ideal for the smaller centipedes that are very fast with their movements. However, make sure that you release them out once you catch them.

4. Try Insecticide

Centipedes are extremely resistant to natural home remedies. So, if nothing is working for you, the next best thing to do would be to try a chemical insecticide. It is toxic, which means that if you have children or pets, we’d either suggest skipping out on this or being extremely careful where you are using them.

Any of your hardware or garden supply stores should have the insecticides needed for centipedes. All you have to do is get them, follow the instructions for the application, and you are good to go. Often, the insecticides with pyrethroids are effective in killing them on the spot.

5. Get Rid of Food Sources

By food sources, we are talking about crumbs, open trash cans, and even the fallen fruits in your backyard. Not just insects, centipedes will likely feed on anything that comes their way, especially if they are hungry.

So, if you have a can of food open on the kitchen counter, close it or remove it from the open area. If you leave your trash can’s lid open, close that immediately too. If you left crumbs on the floor or the couch while you were eating, you need to get rid of that too.

6. Seal the Entryways

Centipedes don’t magically appear in your home one day and call it theirs. Your house does have entry points that help them gain access to your home. This is what you need to find. It could be an open window sill, a cracked ledge, or even cracked flooring that helps them get into your home with ease.

Whatever the entry points are, once you find them, close them with some white cement or other kinds of sealants that the centipedes can breakthrough. Try to use stronger sealants with their characteristic smell because this itself repels the centipedes.

7. Use Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper
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Another constructive and effective way on how to get rid of centipedes is by using cayenne pepper. The capsaicin in the pepper acts as a natural repellent for the centipedes and keeps your home clear of the pest.

However, you can’t expect to randomly spray cayenne pepper powder around the house and eliminate the pests. You need to first find the spots that they frequent, and only then should you spray the cayenne pepper in those particular spots to get rid of the centipedes for good. Also, once you are done applying the cayenne pepper, make sure you keep the kids and pets away from it.

8. Try Boric Acid

Boric Acid

Another potent and effective remedy to get rid of the centipedes from your home is boric acid. This is ideal for individuals who want to try chemicals but don’t want to give in to the insecticides due to kids and pets around. Boric acid has similar effects on the centipede but is comparatively a lot safer and less toxic.

What you have to do is buy a good chunk of boric acid from your local hardware store and then sprinkle that around the house, focusing on the areas that attract the most of these pests.

9. Contact a Professional

If the centipede infestation in your home has gone out of hand, you need to get immediate help from professionals. The last thing you want is for the infestation to get even worse while you try your DIY remedies. A professional pest controller knows what to do and has the resources to get rid of the infestation in a matter of hours.

The answer to how to get rid of centipedes is not as complicated. All you have to ensure is that you have the right resources, follow correct procedures, and try the remedies consistently without fail. The last thing you want is to end up struggling with the kind of infestation that can put your and your family’s health at risk. So, try to switch things up a little and focus on getting professional help if nothing else works.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy? | 6 Effective & Safe Methods

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Kills Centipedes Instantly?

If you have nothing on hand, Windex is hands down the best insect killer you can use to kill them on the spot. You’d have to do a few spritzes for it to work.

Which Smell Do Centipedes Hate?

Peppermint oil is the biggest aversion for a centipede, so if you want to get rid of them, spray on some peppermint oil around the house to prevent them from entering.

Does Baking Soda Kill Centipedes?

Baking soda is a great way to prevent centipedes from entering your home. They can also kill them due to the acidic reaction.

By James Edwards

James Edwards is a writer & editor with almost 15 years of experience from Murphys, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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