What’s the creepiest creepy-crawly you can think of? For many people, it’s the centipede. (Or maybe the spider. But the centipede is a close second.) Though centipedes are beneficial and generally harmless, they’re not really welcome in your home. In fact, the presence of centipedes is indicative of another pest issue you need to take care of.
Even though centipede means “100 legs,” centipedes can have as few as 15 pairs of legs. They do most of their hunting at night; during the day, they take refuge in cracks, cardboard boxes, and crawl spaces. There are three types of centipedes in North America:
• Bark Centipedes: These live mostly outside, but they can find their way into a basement or cellar. They will bite a human if they feel threatened, and while the bite is not deadly to a person, it does hurt.
• Cytopid Centipedes: This is another outdoor-preferring centipede with a painful bite.
• House Centipedes: As their name indicates, these are the centipedes you’re most likely to find in your house. They prefer moist environments: check for them in your basement or bathroom. They’re fast little buggers, and if you disturb them, they’re going to bolt.
While centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment, millipedes have two. Centipedes eat bugs; millipedes eat leaves and wood chips. Millipedes don’t bite at all, making them especially harmless, and they prefer to live outside. They work their way inside mostly by accident: they can’t reproduce indoors, so it’s not an ideal situation for them.
House centipedes don’t have strong jaws; it’s very difficult for them to get through your skin. If they do, it’ll hurt a bit, but in reality you’re unlikely to get bitten in the first place, especially because most likely you’re not going out of your way to handle them.
Centipedes are big-time hunters, and they eat a lot of insects.
An unexpected centipede in your drain or shoe can be unsettling. And to imagine it crawling over your foot? No, thanks.
But here’s the thing: as mentioned above, centipedes eat a lot of bugs every day. If you have a lot of centipedes in your home, that means you’ve got a big food supply for them. When centipedes are thriving, it’s an indication that there are a lot of other bugs in your home. You might as well throw out the table cloth and pour some champagne for the house centipedes. As long as the food is plentiful, they’re there to stay.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach recommends not interfering with centipedes found outdoors, since they do help control other pests. However, if there are centipedes in your home, there are two basic ways to reduce the population:
1. Eliminate the places they like to live. This might mean sealing any cracks or gaps in the concrete and around windows and doors. You can also use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture.
2. Eliminate their food source. If they’ve got nothing to eat at your house, they’ll find another place to live.
How you do you cancel a centipede’s meal reservation at your home? Contact Miller Pest & Termite. After a free consultation and inspection, we can make a plan for getting rid of the bugs your centipedes like to eat, thereby getting rid of the centipedes at the same time, for a happy, pest-free home. As a QualityPro member, we are proud to be held to the highest standards in the pest control industry, and we’ve been delivering quality service since 2001.