Although centipedes are common in the United States and other countries, these many-legged critters only come out at night. It may be hard to count their legs as they race across your floor at up to 1.3 feet per second, but everyday house centipedes, in fact, only have 15 pairs of legs. Unlike millipedes, these pests won’t damage your house, but they’re still creepy, so it’s not surprising that you’re looking for a homemade centipede killer.
Centipedes use their venomous front legs to sting their prey, which can include silverfish, bed bugs, crickets, cockroaches, and termites. If you worry that you have a centipede infestation in your house, the good news is that these creepy-crawlies are unlikely to cause you or your pets any harm.
Only larger species sting with enough strength to break human skin. If you do provoke a large one by handling it roughly, a centipede bite is about as painful as a bee sting.
- Killing Centipedes the DIY Way
- Prevent a Centipede Problem by Cleaning Your House
- Reduce Moisture to Discourage Centipedes
- How to Get Rid of Centipedes Manually
- Lay Traps as a Homemade Centipede Killer
- DIY Centipede Control with Essential Oils
- Chase Away Centipedes with Cayenne Pepper
- Use a Natural Centipede Killer: Diatomaceous Earth or Boric Acid
- How Diatomaceous Earth and Boric Acid Kill Centipedes
Killing Centipedes the DIY Way
These arthropods enter houses in search of insects to eat, a place to shelter, and moisture. An excellent first step for sending centipedes the message “Not in my house!” is to make sure that your home is clean, well-sealed, and dry.
If that doesn’t do the trick, you have several homemade centipede killer options for chasing away the pests without calling an exterminator.
Prevent a Centipede Problem by Cleaning Your House
To discourage centipedes from installing themselves inside your home, clear away clutter inside and outside your house. These timid critters like to hide in nooks and crannies, under rocks and cardboard boxes, and among leaves and mulch, so tidy up any debris and seal cracks in the house’s baseboards and foundation.
Consider guarding your home with a barrier of gravel or a centipede killer like diatomaceous earth. It also helps to target the insects and spiders that act as centipedes’ food sources. Reducing the population of household pests like bed bugs and termites is a good idea in general.
Reduce Moisture to Discourage Centipedes
Since these pests can’t retain moisture in their bodies, there’s nothing that house centipedes like more than the damp places in your house. Take steps to eliminate humidity as much as possible.
Remove materials like grass clippings and logs from outside your home as a form of DIY centipede control. Inside, halt the development of damp areas by maintaining proper ventilation with an exhaust fan or a dehumidifier. Also, make sure to fix any leaky taps.
How to Get Rid of Centipedes Manually
Like you might do with a spider, trap a centipede under a cup or jar and carry it outside while covering its escape route with a piece of paper. The only challenge is to move fast enough to capture one of these speedy critters.
Another option that might spring to mind when you see one of these arthropods dart out of one of your closets is to squash it, and your intuition would be just fine. Centipedes tend to travel alone, and their eggs take several months to develop.
Squishing one specimen could very well deal a substantial blow to the centipede population in your house. If you don’t want to run the risk of touching one of the creepy-crawlies, suck them up with a vacuum.
Lay Traps as a Homemade Centipede Killer
A large number of centipedes in your house could indicate that you’re facing a more extensive pest problem. Setting up sticky traps is a way to both kill centipedes and learn what type of insects are attracting them to your house.
Besides tempting centipedes, trapping their prey gives you the necessary information to plan the most effective form of pest control.
It’s important to note that large centipedes can leave behind a couple of their long legs if they get stuck in a trap, so this solution works best for smaller species. Once the pests are immobilized, kill them, or remove them from your house.
DIY Centipede Control with Essential Oils
These critters’ sensitive antennae mean that the smell of essential oils, such as peppermint or tea tree oil, overwhelms them and sends them running in the opposite direction. Peppermint oil is also a successful way to keep spiders out of the house.
Combine the oil and water in a spray bottle and squirt the mixture in cracks and crevices, refreshing the repellent once a week. Or, use a dropper to squeeze drops of pure essential oil onto centipede hiding places. It’s worth noting that essential oils can be toxic for pets.
Chase Away Centipedes with Cayenne Pepper
Centipedes also flee from spicy cayenne pepper. Sprinkle a thin layer of this rust-colored powder at entry points around the base of your house.
This DIY centipede control discourages the pest from entering your house in the first place. The only drawback is that cayenne, though not toxic, does cause irritation in dogs and cats, so consider trying a different solution if you have a furry friend.
Use a Natural Centipede Killer: Diatomaceous Earth or Boric Acid
Sprinkle one of these white powders on any cracks where the pests could be hiding or entering your home to use a natural centipede killer. Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) works approximately two days after contact with the critters, so don’t expect immediate results.
Both substances become less effective if they get wet. However, damp boric acid does still kill any centipedes that eat it. It’s also possible to mix a DE centipede killer spray to get the substance in a place that’s difficult to access or to avoid getting the powder in your lungs.
To do so, combine one gallon of water and two to four tablespoons of DE. Note that DE is only useful once it dries.
How Diatomaceous Earth and Boric Acid Kill Centipedes
DE’s sharp-edged granules cut the bodies of many insects, causing moisture to escape and leading to their eventual demise via dehydration. Boric acid also damages their exoskeleton, in addition to poisoning them and destroying their digestive system.
The good news is that DE is safe to use around humans and pets. Boric acid is a different matter. This natural centipede killer can cause eye irritation and respiratory issues, as well as an upset stomach if someone happens to eat it.
If you have children or pets, choose a safer alternative, such as manual removal. Centipedes may not be the most dangerous pests that could take up residence in your home, but they’re still terrifying as they scurry across your floor with their many legs flying.
Thankfully, you now know how to maintain your home to make it less attractive to centipedes. With a few easy changes, you’ll be able to walk confidently around your house without being afraid of a centipede infestation.
You also know what to do if you do spot one of these pests in your living space. It’s up to you whether you choose to squish the critters or to make a homemade centipede killer or repellent with boric acid, peppermint oil, or cayenne pepper.
In any case, you’re sure to eliminate a centipede problem in no time.
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