How to Get Rid of House Centipedes and Why You Shouldn’t Kill Them

Updated: Apr. 17, 2023

Before you squish that creepy centipede, find out why it actually might be a useful house guest.

House Centipede Shutterstock 273463868 2JON OSUMI/SHUTTERSTOCK

It can be a little discomforting, to say the least, when you see a house centipede crawling its way through your house, looking to hide under the baseboard moulding or making a run for the kitchen cabinets. Nobody really likes to have these multi-legged creepy crawlers as unwelcome guests in their house.

They aren’t easy to catch either. The typical house centipedes have 15 pairs of legs and can travel 1.3 feet-per-second, which is much faster than it sounds for a little thing like that. Despite their speed, when you see one, you might be tempted to catch up to it and squash it with your shoe. However, you might want to hold off on killing that centipede.

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Never Kill a House Centipede

Like almost every other bug out there, a centipede does have a purpose. House centipedes are known for killing the most unwelcome pests in your house — cockroaches, moths, flies, silverfish and termites.

Not only are house centipedes killing the bugs you really don’t want in your house, they also don’t create any nests or webs. They are considered active hunters and are constantly looking for their next prey. Centipedes aren’t eating your wood or carrying a fatal disease. House centipedes just want to go after the bugs.

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Where Do Centipedes Live?

You’ve probably noticed them in your firewood pile and under rocks in the yard before. That’s because house centipedes like to live in damp, cooler places. It’s common to find them under piles of leaves too. Indoors, they take a similar approach. Look for them in the garage or basement. They’ll crawl into bathrooms too.

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How to Get Rid of Centipedes in Your Home

Don’t be in a hurry to get them out of your house. Remember, they can be helpful. But if you do prefer them to stay outside, just follow a few simple tips.

  • If you want to get rid of house centipedes for good, the trick is to eliminate their food.
  • Try to get rid of the household pests that they prey on. You can do this by making sure there isn’t extra moisture in your walls by using a dehumidifier or installing a fan in the bathroom.
  • Seal off any cracks entering the house so pests don’t have places to lay eggs.
  • Make sure to clear your house of any debris that is causing unnecessary moisture to leak into your walls.

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How to Prevent House Centipedes From Coming Back

Once you’ve made these changes to get rid of their food sources, hopefully you will never come across one of those scary looking house centipedes again.

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The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman