What’s long, skittish, and has up to 177 legs? Yep, a house centipede, an all too common sight in our houses and more often than not, an unwelcome one. But before you squish the next one you see, stop. They may be a little bit creepy, they may be a little bit crawly, but unlike most of the other uninvited guests that invade your home from time to time, they’re also incredibly useful to have around. If you thought you needed to rely on harsh chemicals and expensive professionals to get rid of bug infestations in your house, think again. As it turns out, all you need is a friendly house centipede or two.
As MSN reports, house centipedes love to snack on pests of the peskier variety, including roaches, moths, flies, silverfish and termites – all of which will damage your clothes, your home, and quite possibly you in ways a harmless little house centipede would never even dream off. The way they catch their lunch is actually kind of fascinating… if a little gruesome. After spotting their prey, they use the two legs closest to their head (which double up as venom-containing fangs) to “lasso” their unsuspecting victim, before wrapping it up in the rest of their many, many legs to snack on at their leisure.
The Very Hungry Centipede
As Country Living notes, centipedes are voracious eaters with an insatiable appetite. Thanks to their sky-high metabolic rate, they’re always on the hunt, never slowing down long enough to create any pesky webs or nests for you to worry about. No matter how big the infestation of termites, roaches, moths, flies, or silverfish, a house centipede will have it cleared and under control in surprisingly short order.
How to Get Rid of House Centipedes
House centipedes carry no fatal diseases, their ‘fangs’ aren’t sharp enough to prick human skin, and they do a fine job or doing away with more malignant pests. But we get it. To some folk, a creepy-crawly is always going to be exactly that… and who wants a house full of creepy crawlies?
If you’re determined to clear your house of any little invaders, no matter how harmless they may be, there are a few tactics you can use that will get rid of house centipedes quickly and harmlessly. Before you bring your shoes down on the next one you see, stop. Run to the kitchen, grab a piece of paper and a glass, and then use both to scoop the little fellow up and take him outside. He can carry on chomping his merry way through any pests in the garden, and you can stop jumping onto the nearest chair every time you see something rustling in the carpet.
The next step is to make sure he, and his friends, don’t come back. Start by identifying any cracks or gaps in the walls that insects could make their way through and fill them in. Next, tackle their food source. House centipedes love to eat; if they don’t find any food in the house, they won’t bother sticking around. Unfortunately, depriving them of food isn’t quite so easy as just sticking a lock on the fridge. Centipedes chow down on other pests, meaning you’ll need to get rid of them before you can get rid of the centipedes.
As insects love moisture, use a dehumidifier to lower the humidity and make your house a little less inviting to invaders than it would be otherwise. Make sure you always use the fan in the bathroom when you run a shower or bath, or keep the window open if you haven’t got one. You might also want to consider some of these top suggestions from mystayathomeadventures.com for keeping pests (and by extension, house centipedes) away:
Make a Natural Repellent Spray
Steer clear from potentially toxic chemical pesticides by trying a safe, natural alternative. Mix equal parts vinegar with water and add to a spray bottle for a quick remedy. If you prefer, you could try a citrus-based repellent (particularly effective against fungus gnats, mealy bugs, aphids, and even slugs) by adding the peel of one orange to 500 mL water and bringing it to the boil. Let it settle for 24 hours before adding to a spray bottle with a few drops of liquid soap. Whenever you say any creep-crawlies, give them a good dousing.
Make Use of Essential Oils
If there’s one thing bugs hate more than an exterminator, it’s the smell of peppermint. Douse some cotton wool balls in peppermint essential oil and scatter them wherever you think bugs might be lurking. You could also try spraying the oil directly at the access points that the bugs are using to get into the house.
Cover Openings with Mesh
No matter how secure your house is against burglars of the two-legged variety, those of the many-legged type will still find a way. Block their path by covering chimneys, crawl spaces, dryer vents, exhaust fans, or roof vents with a wire mesh or screen.
Get Them Before They Get In
Dealing with bugs once they get into the house can be a palaver, so why not get pro-active and stop them from gaining entry in the first place? Electrotonic traps, ultrasonic repellents, snap traps, glue traps, cage traps, and bug zappers can all be set up on the exterior of the house to stop any little critters from making their way indoors.
Keep a Clean House
If you want to keep your house free of house centipedes, you need to deprive them of their food source. And if you want to keep your house free of their food source, you need to stop feeding the bugs and critters they prey on. Dispose of garbage immediately, and never leave dirty crockery or cutlery to fester on the kitchen surfaces overnight. Deal with any spillages as soon as they happen, and make sure to sweep or vacuum your floors regularly to remove any debris or crumbs.