Getting Rid of Centipedes: How To Kill Centipedes

Centipedes may not be the most dangerous pests in your home. However, they're among the most uninviting nuisances in your home.

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Centipedes may not be the most dangerous pests in your home. However, they're among the most uninviting nuisances in your home. Here's how to easily kill or get rid of these leggy critters from your household.

There's arguably nothing more frightening than seeing a centipede dashing across your floor or under your couch. With their many legs (in their hundreds) and alarming speed, it's safe to say that you're right to get petrified of these critters. Despite their very horrifying appearance, centipedes are generally harmless.

In addition to not being interested in your food pantry, centipedes won't bite you or damage your foundation, or furniture. But even with that, they're annoying and you certainly don't want them sharing your house with you. One of the first actions when you sight a centipede is probably to reach for a shoe and hit it hard before it crawls away to safety. But is that enough to get rid of the centipedes? We don't think so, especially if they're many.

Coming across a centipede in your home can be very shocking. Believe it or not, these critters are very common in most gardens and lawns and may find their way inside your house. You'll most likely find them in cool damp areas with adequate moisture. This means that they'll be common in your closet, bathroom, basement, and in areas close to drains. The first step towards getting rid of centipedes is preventing them from entering your home. You can also use chemical and non-chemical methods to get rid of them.

In this article, we'll learn how to get rid of centipedes naturally without causing harm. And as a last resort, we'll show you how to kill the centipedes.

Table of Contents

Identifying the Centipedes

The first important step in dealing with any pest in your home is identifying exactly what you're dealing with. Centipedes have many legs, which are said to be around a hundred. They generally measure between 1 inch and 1.5 inches long and can appear in various colors but typical house centipedes are yellowish or light brown.

Although centipedes can be confused with millipedes, they're very different in traits. For instance, millipedes are slow-moving while centipedes move very fast. Centipedes are predators and generally feed in other insects. While they're normally harmless, a bite from a centipede can range from venomous to minor but this may depend on the species. As such, it may not be wise to take the centipede into your hand.

Additionally, centipedes are nocturnal and usually enter your home through cracks and crevices. The fact that centipedes largely feed on insects might be an indication that there's a big population of other insects that might have attracted them in your home.


Now that you know what you're dealing with, you can proceed and carry out an inspection to find where they're most active. Centipedes can dry out and die if they live in dry or hot areas. This is why you'll normally find them in damp areas. You'll find them under rocks, leaves, and tree barks in outdoor areas. In indoor areas, you'll find them in bathrooms, basements, closets, and in drains.

That being said, centipedes thrive in damp or high moisture areas. You should, therefore, look in storage boxes, basements, bathrooms, equipment, and clutter. Out in the yard, you'll find centipedes under bricks, stones, decaying materials, woodpiles, leaf litter, and in mulched areas.

Getting Rid of Centipedes

You should never let the centipedes become comfortable in your home. Here are a few ways to get rid of them.

Trap them Using Sticky Traps

If you've dealt with other insects in the past such as rodents, you probably know what sticky traps are. These traps are highly effective in catching and getting rid of centipedes. Buy the sticky traps from your local store and place them in various places within your home. You can place them in the corners of the room and near baseboards.

These sticky traps will not only help you in capturing the centipedes but will also capture other insects or pests in your home. If you scrutinize the sticky traps carefully, you may realize the extent of the pest problem in your home. While that may not be good news, you'll at least know the types of pests invading your home.

Capture the Centipedes

Centipedes are very fast and capturing them might not be a walk in the park. Fortunately, they normally don't live in groups so you can capture them and relocate them outside, that's if you don't want to kill them.

You can capture the centipede under a jar, slide a piece of paper over the mouth of the jar, and relocate it outside your home. It's important to make sure that you deposit it as far from your home as possible. As we noted earlier, some species of centipede can bite in self-defense, so you should NEVER catch them with your bare hands.

Use Peppermint Essential Oil

Like many other insects, centipedes hate the smell of peppermint oil. The centipede will get burned if it comes to contact with the essential oil. The smell of peppermint will also make the centipedes retreat immediately. For this reason, you should apply peppermint directly into the cracks and crevices, around windows, and underneath areas where the centipedes might be nesting.

In essence, using peppermint essential oil will leave your house with a fresh smell and ensure that the centipedes stay away!

Eucalyptus Oil

Another essential oil that most insects cannot stand is eucalyptus oil. Spray the eucalyptus oil or steam it and the centipedes will leave immediately.

Cayenne Pepper

Although cayenne pepper can be irritating when it gets to our eyes, ears, and mouth, it can be a nice way to get rid of centipedes. These insects will go to greater lengths to avoid coming in close contact with pepper. You should, therefore, sprinkle the cayenne pepper along the exterior window ledges and around the house and the centipedes will be a thing of the past. Just make sure that you keep the pepper away from kids.

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

This natural white powder is very effective in getting rid of a variety of household pests including centipedes. Sprinkle this powder on areas where centipedes are most likely to frequent such as in bathrooms, cellars, closets, and damp areas within your home.

Eradicate their Food Source

As we noted earlier, centipedes are predators and will prey on other insects such as spiders, mosquitos, moths, cockroaches, and bed bugs. That being said, one of the best ways to deal with centipedes is by removing their food source.

Use a Dehumidifier to Remove Damp Areas

It's no secret that centipedes will generally thrive in humid conditions. You can, therefore, use a dehumidifier to remove damp and humid areas in your home. You can also turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom. Besides getting rid of centipedes, using a dehumidifier can help you eradicate other household pests such as ants and cockroaches. That's why most of these pests will invade your home during the dry weather season as they look for a source of water.

Use Pyrid Aerosol

Pyrid aerosol is a pyrethrin-based chemical that is known for quickly and effectively killing a wide variety of household pests. Spraying the centipedes with pyrid aerosol will kill them immediately. Just like the essential oils that we mentioned earlier, centipedes will die if they come into contact with pyrid aerosol.

This chemical generally comes in a ready-to-use aerosol spray so you can simply shake and spray. All you have to do is spray the chemical in areas where the centipedes have been found and where they might be harboring such as in cracks and crevices.

Apply D-Fense Dust

D-Fense Dust is a moisture-resistant insecticide powder that will kill the centipedes and make sure that they don't come back for at least 8 months. You need to be very careful when using this insecticide. Fill a handheld duster with the D-Fense dust and apply it by squeezing it in areas where the centipedes might be harboring.

Prevent Centipedes from Coming Back

Once you've eliminated the centipedes from your home, it's fundamental that you use various preventive measures to prevent them from coming back. There are a variety of things that you can do to ensure that the centipedes never find their way into your home again.

Seal the entry Points - The first step is to ensure that all entry points such as cracks and crevices are sealed so that the centipedes do not find their way to your house. For example, you can use caulk to seal the cracks and crevices, as well as any point of entry.

Make your home dry - Centipedes can rarely survive in dry areas as they'll literally dry out. That's why they only thrive in moist, damp, and humid areas. As such, make sure that you keep your home dry at all times. Fix any leaks and use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in your home.

Bottom Line

Centipedes are creepy and annoying insects that should never abode in your home. They can infest your home when looking for insects or damp areas within your home such as bathrooms, basements, closets, and cellars. If your home is infested with centipedes, use the above-described elimination methods and centipedes will be a thing of the past!

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