1. Things Every Homeowner Can Do To Prevent Centipedes


Things Every Homeowner Can Do To Prevent Centipedes

While centipedes here in Maryland may not be as scary as the 8-inch scolopendra centipede found in Hawaii, they are still creepy, and potentially harmful, pests to have inside a home.

The word centipede means, "100 legs." But, in reality, these creatures have between 15 and 177 pairs of legs, which would be 30-254 legs. That's a lot of legs! Centipedes are arthropods that have flat, segmented bodies which can be gray or brownish in color.

Each segment has one pair of legs. They are carnivorous, which means they only feed on flesh, not on plants or other foods. Some things centipedes eat include worms, spiders, silverfish and other small vertebrates. Typically centipedes will hide out during the daytime, in damp, dark areas, and only come out at night.

Do Centipedes Cause The Following Problems?

  • Diseases? While some insects and animals do spread diseases when they get into homes, centipedes are not linked to any human pathogens.


  • Property damage? There are several household pests which do cause structural or property damage, such as termites that eat away at support beams (and all other wooden structures) and rats that will chew on everything in their path, centipedes do not cause this kind of damage. They do, however, use the holes that other pests make to squeeze into a home.


  • Bites? Many pests cause bites, or stings, such as bed bugs, mosquitoes, and hornets. And centipedes do this as well. In fact, a centipede bite has been compared, as far as pain is concerned, to the pain of a bee sting. Centipedes use their venom to attack and paralyze their prey. Fortunately, their venom does not harm humans beyond being very painful.


  • Mental duress? Most pests can cause mental duress (especially if they come in large enough numbers) and centipedes are no different. These hard, creepy looking pests move quickly and can startle even the most stout-hearted person. So, yes, they most certainly can cause mental duress.

Why Do Centipedes Enter Homes?

Centipedes usually hang out in damp, dark areas outside during the daytime. They can be found underneath stones, mulch and leaf piles. But they will move inside if they can find the same conditions.

Inside homes, they can typically be found in crawl spaces, basements, closets, and bathrooms. They will be drawn in close to a foundation if there is moisture and places to hide. And they will make their way inside if there are gaps or holes to squeeze through.

How Can Homeowners Prevent Centipedes From Getting In?

Centipedes can be difficult to totally eradicate because they are very good at hiding in the dark cracks and crevices inside a home. But there are a few steps homeowners can take to try to keep those centipedes from invading in the first place.

It starts with a good look at the outside of your home.

  • Carefully examine your foundation and walls for tiny (or not-so-tiny) gaps, cracks, or holes. Look closely where objects enter your home. And seal up all holes that you find. If you do not have time or money to properly seal holes, using a caulking gun will go a long way toward a temporary fix.


  • Keep gutters clear so water isn't running down your home and creating wood rot.


  • If you have items that attract centipedes in your yard, remove them, or move them as far from your foundation as possible. Look for items such as logs, rocks, and other organic materials that centipedes like to hide under.


  • Check all door sweeps and screens and make sure they are in good repair.


  • Cover basement floor drains with window screening.

It is not a good idea to try and arrest a centipede invasion with do-it-yourself methods since pesticides can be ineffective, and even dangerous, if not mixed properly.

The most effective way to be rid of centipedes and keep them out is to partner with a qualified pest control company. American Pest can work with you to develop a pest control plan to completely take care of centipedes and a whole host of other pests, with our Preferred Care, Preferred Care Plus, or Preferred Care Complete service plans.

Give us a call today for more information or to set up service for your home.