The first time you encountered a house centipede, you probably had a million questions. Questions like: “What is that demon spider?” “What did I do to deserve this?” and just “Why?”. Now that you survived, you probably only have one question: “how do I never have centipedes again”?
We’ve answered your other million centipede questions before. Now, we’re going to answer the one that really matters, in more detail. Here are our best strategies for preventing the all-time worst centipede from ever inflicting itself upon your home again.
Food Source Management
If you have house centipedes, it’s probably because you also have other pest infestations. We know, it’s bad news on bad news. House centipedes are omnivorous predators. They feed on nearly any arthropod smaller than they are, including roaches, silverfish, spiders, flies, and other bugs. Depriving these gross bugs of their food sources is easily the best way to keep them out of your home.
Centipedes hunt for food in moist, dark, and warm locations like your basement and attic. Starting here, look for signs of other infestations. Try to find ways pests could have entered your home, like gaps around windows, worn-down insulation, or cracked baseboard. Seal these gaps with caulk. Replace weatherstripping around windows. Clean up around corners, under boxes and bags, and anywhere you find signs of pest activity. Clearing out other pest infestations will deprive your many-legged foe of food, making your home drastically less appealing.
House centipedes are nocturnal hunters and foragers. During the day, they rest and bide their time in dark, damp, and confined shelters. House centipedes prefer to shelter near a source of moisture and food. Their climbing ability and small bodies make virtually any opening or structure large enough to harbor a resting centipede. Females also deposit their eggs in tight shelters such as these. Unlike many pests, house centipedes will reproduce and lay eggs indoors, so it’s especially important to address infestations quickly.
Centipedes hunker down in wood piles, concrete slabs, boxes, wall openings, drains, crawl spaces, and other damp, warm places. Remove these shelters by storing firewood away from the home, patching holes in insulation and concrete, and organizing boxes. Install water traps in floor drains, and keep crawl spaces and attics clean. Without good hiding places, centipedes will have to find a different place to rest and lay their eggs. They’ll find a hunting ground near these different places, instead of coming back to your home.
House centipedes require a highly humid environment to stay active and hunting. If you have house centipedes, it’s probably in-part because some area of your home is producing too much moisture. Excess humidity happens for a lot of reasons. Drafts suck in damp, outdoor air while pushing out dry, indoor air. Plumbing leaks produce surprising amounts of moisture. Unfinished areas may have natural low spots that puddle after rain or snow.
First, see if you can find an obvious humidity problem. Plumbing leaks are considerably more common than you’d suspect, and even a little one makes a lot of moisture. Find drafts by feeling for sudden dips in temperature, especially in your basement or attic. Look for puddling in the unfinished parts of your home after rain or snow. If you can’t find the problem, try a dehumidifier, or replace old windows and doors. House centipedes can’t permanently inhabit dry spaces, so reducing humidity is a great way to keep them out.
Seal Access Points
The final centipede prevention tip is also the most general, but it’s still important. Even if your home attracts centipedes, they can’t get in if they… can’t get in. Like virtually every home pest, house centipedes are opportunists above all. They enter your home because it’s easy. House centipedes access your home by following moisture, humidity, or warm air they feel from outside. When they reach the source of the attractive element, they usually find a gap wide enough to squeeze through.
Centipedes are always on the lookout for shelter, so if they find an opening they’ll crawl right in. Look for these openings around windows, particularly older basement windows. Worn down weatherstripping around doors may provide access to centipedes, as well. Even the gaps around utility lines or baseboard cracks might be large enough to let the leggy pest through. Sealing off access points like these will help keep centipedes and their food sources out all at once.
House centipedes might seem a little (or a lot) scarier, but really they’re just another pest. Following these pest prevention tips will safeguard your home against centipedes and all kinds of other creepy crawlies at the same time.
If you end up needing a little help kicking out your least favorite arthropod to the curb, you can always give Plunkett’s a call. We’re always happy to frustrate those freaky house centipedes… and we like helping you too, obviously.BACK TO BLOG