Seeing a creepy-crawly running along your floor is never a good feeling. Even if you like bugs, most bugs are not wanted inside the house. They belong outside! So having an infestation makes you wonder what else is crawling around inside.
But worrying about centipedes shouldn’t ruin your day. In fact, you’ll soon find out that centipedes can be your best friend. It’s hard to imagine, but sometimes, the lesser of two evils can be a good thing.
What Is A House Centipede?
A house centipede is a small, yellowish-grey centipede with up to 15 pairs of long legs. They come from the Mediterranean region and now can be found in nearly every country in the world living in yards and homes.
Seeing a centipede shouldn’t cause you to be alarmed, however, because they offer a lot to any home. As long as there isn’t a large infestation, that is, as too much of any critter can cause problems over time.
Is The Household Centipede Dangerous?
Although centipedes can be scary, house centipedes are not considered dangerous to humans. If you leave them alone, they most definitely will not hurt you. They can bite if you pick them up, but this isn’t usually an issue.
Centipedes are generally harmless to anything but their prey which is small insects. The only time that centipede bites are dangerous to humans is if you are allergic to insect bites or stings. Otherwise, it simply hurts but recovers quickly.
What To Do If A Centipede Bites You
Most of the time, you won’t need to do anything to a centipede bite. But if you are afraid you might be allergic, then check for these symptoms as they could mean you are suffering from an allergic reaction.
- extreme swelling at the site of the bite
- swollen lymph nodes
- heart palpitations
If you are experienced these symptoms and they are causing you problems, contact your doctor. Now, if you have trouble breathing, then go to the emergency room as soon as possible as you could be going into anaphylactic shock.
If you don’t believe you are having an allergic reaction and simply want pain relief then apply heat to the bite as quickly as possible. This will dilute the venom, especially if you put the affected area under hot water.
If swelling is your problem and not pain, then try adding an ice pack. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers and inflammation reducers to help with these symptoms as well. For open wound bites, a topical cream can help prevent infections.
Should I Get Rid Of Centipedes?
Even though it may be tempting to get rid of any and all centipedes, you shouldn’t do so without knowing the benefits of keeping them around. Centipedes aren’t eating your wood or carrying a fatal disease.
But not only are they not doing anything harmful, but they are natural bug repellants. Centipedes kill the bugs you really don’t want in your house and are always on the lookout for new prey to pounce on.
So if you have termite problems or ant problems, leave the centipedes be for now. If you get rid of all of the other bugs then you can let the centipede outside and take preventive methods to keep them out.
How To Prevent Centipedes From Getting In The House
If you are set against allowing centipedes in the house, then it’s a good idea to take preventative measures against them. Here are a few things you can do to keep centipedes out of your house for good.
Get Rid Of Gaps
Cracks and gaps are just ways to invite bugs in. If you seal your front door, windows, and trim, you can eliminate a lot of entrances for house centipedes. It won’t do the entire job, but it’s the only place to start.
Keep The Kitchen Clean
Any food left out on the counter will attract bugs, even centipedes. So keep your counters clean, wiped off, and free of residue. Keep your cabinets clean too and make sure all boxes are sealed at all times.
Dry Everywhere You Can
Bugs are attracted to damp places. Centipedes especially dry out fast. So it’s a good idea to not let anywhere be damp if you can help it. Keep the house dry to ensure there is no water source for centipedes.
Sweep The Floors
That’s right, more cleaning. Keeping your floors swept is a good way to get rid of tiny pieces of food that centipedes maybe after. It will also help eliminate other bugs which are a food source for centipedes.
Get Rid Of Yard Hiding Spots
Bugs like to hide in stacks of wood, trash bins, and piles of debris at night. It’s a good idea to not let these things stay in place for too long as it encourages bugs to stick around and eventually go inside.
Kill Other Bugs
There’s no reason not to kill ants and other bugs that make their way into your home. If you get rid of them, then centipedes won’t have any food in your house. So taking care of them can help in the long run.
Is There Another Bug With Lots Of Legs?
Centipedes aren’t the only bugs with lots of legs. While they are generally harmless, other bugs with lots of legs might not be. And no, we don’t mean spiders, which are easily recognizable to anyone.
Millipedes are often confused with centipedes. But millipedes are not poisonous and thus even safer than centipedes. They can have up to 400 legs, are smaller than centipedes, and have thicker bodies.
A woodlouse is a small greyish bug with lots of legs. They are poisonous, are very tiny, and don’t cause damage to anything. They are harmless bugs that are attracted to moist areas and sweet foods, just like other bugs.
Silverfish cannot harm humans and don’t eat wood. But they can eat paper and other soft products like mattresses. You will notice they have long antennae and are a silverish color which is where they get their name.
How to Kill Bugs In General
While you may not want to kill centipedes, it can be useful to know how to kill bugs in general. Here are a few common households items that can get rid of any type of bug you will have in your home. These include ants and cockroaches.
Bugs hate pepper. You can sprinkle it around baseboards or behind appliances to keep bugs at bay. Both red and black pepper work well, the stronger the smell and taste, the better it will work to repel bugs.
Peppermint smells good to most humans but bugs hate the smell. Mix 10 to 20 drops of peppermint essential oil with two cups of water and spray it around the perimeter of your room or house to keep bugs away.
Cinnamon works surprisingly well to keep bugs away from your house. You can sprinkle it around the perimeter of rooms or get cinnamon sticks and hide them in hot spots where you’ve found bugs before.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil smell great to most of us but bugs prefer to stay far away from it. You only need a few drops of tea tree oil to keep bugs away. Mix 5 to 10 drops into two cups of water and spray it in problem areas.
Vinegar isn’t that great for humans to smell either, so we can tell when it is strong enough to keep bugs away. Unlike essential oils, it is safe to keep down around kids and pets so you don’t have to worry about harming them.
Killing Bugs More Effectively
If the methods above don’t work for you and you’re ready to give it another go, try these methods. They aren’t as safe or as clean as the other methods and should be used with caution.
This is a very messy way to kill bugs but it works fairly well most of the time. Simply sprinkle the cornstarch over the bugs directly to dry them out and make them easy to sweep up. Just wait till they stop moving to sweep.
Not only do coffee grounds smother bugs, but they repel them too. You can use wet coffee grounds that have already been used and put them in window sills. Or smother bugs that you can see with them.
Boric acid is an official poison and bug killer. It dries bugs out quickly but shouldn’t be used around pets and kids. So be careful with it, leaving trails only where pets won’t be around but bugs will travel.
Wear a mask if you use this too much because it can even dry you out! Diatomaceous earth probably works better than anything else. So if you can do it safely, it is your best bet to get rid of most types of bugs.
Is It Okay To Kill Centipedes?
If you are still wondering about centipedes then rest assured that they are not endangered. So killing them is okay. Their benefits usually outweigh any problems they cause, but killing them is a personal choice.