How to Get Rid of Centipedes in Your Home

By Amanda Lutz Updated February 6, 2024

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Centipedes may help control roaches, silverfish, and other pests, but seeing their segmented bodies and many pairs of legs can send shivers down your spine. If you’ve spotted these critters in your home, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll explain how to get rid of centipedes and prevent future infestations.



Common Causes of Centipede Infestation

Understanding why and how centipedes invade homes will help you address the problem. Here are some common causes of a centipede infestation.



Risks of Centipede Infestation

Centipede infestations pose no serious risks. These arthropods are generally solitary creatures, and only house centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) will reproduce indoors. Other types of centipedes lay their eggs in the soil. As a result, centipedes are unlikely to invade in large numbers.

Centipedes have jaw-like claws directly behind their heads, which they use to catch prey. These claws are venomous and can be used to bite humans. However, centipede venom has little effect on humans and pets. Unless you have an insect allergy, a centipede bite will be no worse than a bee sting, with only mild pain and swelling.

One notable exception is the giant desert centipede (Scolopendra heros) found in the American southwest. This centipede grows up to 8 inches and inflicts a more severe bite. Fortunately, it’s rarely found indoors.

Centipedes pose no threat to your home. Their presence may indicate that you have a moisture or insect problem, but they do not cause any damage themselves.



DIY Solutions for Centipede Infestations

To get rid of centipedes yourself, start by reducing the entry points, hiding places, and excess moisture that’s attracting them and allowing them to enter your home. Then use traps, insecticides, or natural repellents to drive them out. Here are a few do-it-yourself (DIY) options.



Professional Solutions for Centipede Infestations

Pest control services are a convenient solution for a severe infestation. Trained exterminators have the knowledge and tools to address centipede problems as well as other household pests. The best pest control companies offer integrated pest management, which combines strategies to manage and prevent infestations by many pests, as well as ongoing service plans.

Professional exterminators may apply an exterior perimeter treatment as well as indoor pesticides and sticky traps to address your centipede problem. They will also recommend preventive measures and provide monitoring and follow-up services until the infestation has been fully resolved. Pest control pricing varies based on the specific situation.



How to Prevent Future Centipede Infestations

House centipedes—the species of centipede most often found in houses—won’t cause any real trouble, but it’s wise to address any issues that may have led these critters to your home. Here’s what to do:



Our Recommendation

Learning about the common causes of centipedes and taking proactive DIY measures can help you get rid of and prevent infestations. Most homeowners are well-equipped to handle centipedes on their own by reducing humidity, sealing entry points, and applying barrier treatments. However, you can also invest in professional pest control for added peace of mind and ongoing service.



How to Get Rid of Centipedes FAQ

Do centipedes bite?

Yes. Centipedes use a pair of hollow claws to inject venom into their prey. However, most species do not pose a serious threat to humans.

What keeps centipedes out?

Homemade perimeter sprays that include peppermint and tea tree oil will help keep centipedes out, as will certain commercial pesticides. Addressing moisture problems and insect infestations will also deter centipedes.

What attracts centipedes to your home?

The following issues attract centipedes to your home:Accessible entry pointsDark hiding spotsExcess moistureHigh humidityOther insects

How We Chose the Top Pest Control Companies

Our pest control research process starts with analyzing customer reviews on third-party websites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Google Reviews. We then do a deep dive into each company’s website, service plans, and available cost information. We also secret shop the companies we review, reach out to representatives, and request quotes.

From there, we compile the information we’ve gathered and compare each company using our in-depth pest control methodology and review criteria. This process uses a series of factors that are important to our readers, and we score each company depending on how well they perform in each factor. For instance, companies that offer more guarantees for their service earned more points than others, and pest control plans with a larger range of covered pests earned more points than ones with fewer.

After analyzing dozens of residential and commercial pest control businesses through this process, we were able to determine the best pest control companies on the market.