How To Prevent & Get Rid Of House Centipedes

Centipedes are predators, carnivores with over 3,300 species of centipedes in the world and around 70 in Canada. Scutigera coleoptrata, the common house centipede, is greyish or brownish, flat, and 25-38 mm long. Centipedes in South America and Australia are more colourful and grow to be as large as 30 cm.

In this article, we'll help you identify the signs of a house centipede infestation, share several options for removing or killing centipedes indoors, and explain how to prevent house centipedes from moving into your basement or bathroom.

How to Identify Centipedes

The house centipede has a long, flat body made up of separate segments with a pair of legs coming out of the sides. In Latin, the word "centipede" breaks down into "hundred" and "feet." The number is never exactly 100, though, because centipede legs always come in an odd number of pairs, anywhere from 15 to 177.

The Lifespan of a Centipede

While hiding in dark and moist areas of your home, centipedes can live up to 7 years and are known to lay eggs in dampened soil during the spring and summer seasons. It takes almost 5 to 6 weeks during the colder months to develop into adults which is when you begin to see them when it's warm.

How Centipedes Find Their Way Inside Your Home

House centipedes can commonly be found in damp areas of your home. Bathrooms, basements, closets and kitchen sinks are areas that centipedes frequent. Centipedes prey on smaller insects and are likely in your home due to other insects being in your area as well.

Types of Insects That Centipedes Eat

Centipedes feast on other household insects. With claw-like forelegs that look like fangs, they inject venom into their prey, such as:

  • Silverfish
  • Flies
  • Moths
  • Spiders
  • Cockroaches
  • Other centipedes

Some people choose not to get rid of centipedes for their interest in getting rid of other insects. Instead, they prefer to keep centipedes around to control all the other nasty bugs in the basement. On the other hand, centipedes can also be a sign of a larger insect infestation.

Home Damage Due to Centipedes

House centipedes are not known to damage your home. They are commonly mistaken for millipedes which are arthropods that consume wood as well as dead and decaying plant material often found outside in your yard. With that said, if you have a centipede problem, it is due to their pursuit of other insects and not the structure of your home.

How to Get Rid Of Centipedes In Your Home

Since you are likely to see just one centipede at a time, you can kill or remove it yourself. It's a good idea to wear gloves when handling any type of pests. Here are a few simple ways to get this creepy crawly out of your house:

  • If you can move fast enough, cover the centipede with a bowl or cup, then slip a piece of paper underneath and set it free outside, far away from your house.
  • Use a vacuum to suck up the centipede, then dispose of the bag or debris in a trash can outside.
  • Products such as

How To Prevent Centipedes From Coming Into Your Home Again

The ideal environment for a centipede is damp, dark, and buggy. When you remove these amenities, they will find somewhere else to live. Here's how: 

  • Keep dampness away using a dehumidifier in the basement and running the fan for 5 minutes after you shower. 
  • Seal up entry points by caulking baseboards and casings around windows and doors.
  • Move damp leaves, compost, mulch, and wood away from your house.
  • Stack firewood on a platform off the ground and shake individual logs before carrying them inside. 
  • Identify areas that you believe centipedes are coming in from and spray those areas with

Are Centipedes Dangerous to Humans and Pets?

House centipedes are nocturnal creatures that avoid people, dogs, and cats, but they may attempt to bite you if cornered. Fortunately, their fangs are too small to break the skin. On the rare chance that they do, you may experience red, itchy skin for a day or two. If the symptoms are worse, it could be an allergic reaction, and you should seek medical attention.