You have probably had a pest or two in your home. Ants are annoying but reasonably common, especially in all-wood builds with poor sealant at the foundation. Roaches of all types can be irritating, especially when found in the bathroom or the kitchen, and they are hard to kill. However, there is one creepy crawler that makes everyone shiver in revulsion.
The House Centipedes Are Coming
The one that crawls into your home like they own the place and can give you a severe case of the willies is the centipede. Even more than silverfish, centipedes have a look that makes your skin crawl. And while centipede is a misnomer (they don’t actually have 100 legs), they do have a lot, and it adds to the creep factor of these tiny bugs.
An Uninvited Guest
The centipede that is most often found in your house is the aptly named “house centipede.” Not a very creative name, but it does describe its preferred habitat perfectly. House centipedes are about an inch and a half long fully grown, are yellowish with three black stripes running down the length of its body.
It has long legs, but only about 30 of them, two for each of the 15 body segments. Each leg is just about half the length of its body, altogether making it look much larger than it is. Two of their legs, near the rear, are incredibly long and can grow to three times longer than the others.
Another way to tell if you have a house centipede, if all these descriptions weren’t enough, is by their running pattern. Because they have so many body segments, their pattern is somewhat erratic, as if they have limited control of which segment does what, and it often looks like they are running a zigzag.
The Purpose of Their Visit
House centipedes appreciate the darkness. Basements are their favorite places to nest, but any crawl space will work. Under cabinets that aren’t sealed, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, are a perfect haven for them. Like all life, they crave moisture, food, and shelter, and the kitchen is the hat trick, which goes double if you have messy kids.
A bathroom is a common place for these pests because of the constant moisture. More than food, more than even a safe place to nest, they want to know where their water source will be. Without moisture, they die. They thrive in humidity, and when the air is too dry, they are inactive and refuse to hunt for their food. Eventually, they dry out.
In a high humidity environment, they hunt for other bugs like silverfish, spiders, and roaches, to name a few. They are predators and, like spiders, love to catch live prey. If you see them, you probably already have other bugs in your home. They won’t stick around if the food source runs out.
The last thing they look for and the last thing you want is a place for them to spawn. Bugs look for harborage or a nesting ground to lay eggs. House centipedes lay their eggs in the spring, and the female can lay as few as 35 to as many as 150. And the babies look like the adults, just with fewer legs, and of course, they are smaller.
Cause and Effect
If you want them out of your home, eliminate the moisture and live food that they seek. Any area that produces a tremendous amount of sustained moisture needs to be dealt with. Many of your pests that also need a moist environment will also leave when the humidity fades, killing the centipede’s food supply.
Dehumidifiers are your friend. Use bathroom exhaust vents when showering, maintain all your piping and check for leaks, and inspect your foundation seals and look for cracks in your home’s exterior for access points. This is crucial if you live in a high humidity area.
Door jambs and window seals are easy access points, and unfortunately, the most difficult to properly seal. This is where bug barriers come into play. There are some terrific sprays that you can use to keep all bugs from coming through your door or window.
Am I Under Attack?
No. For one, you aren’t a food source. It is worth noting that house centipedes do have the capacity to distribute a toxin that helps it hunt, but their weapon of choice can’t well pierce human skin.
Are they terrifying to think about? Yes. Are they a threat? Not so much. They rarely bite or sting humans, and when they do, the effects are mild in most cases, lasting only about 48 hours. Secondary infections can occur from a centipede bite or sting, but this is possible with any puncture of the skin.
Send House Centipedes Packing!
As we said, centipedes enter your home if they know there is a hunting ground for their prey, which means you have bug problems already. If you start to see centipedes in your crawl spaces, darting from under cabinets, or in the basement, give Pest Patrol a call.
We attack the problem and rid your home of these creepy crawlies, plus give you insights into how to prevent them in the future, all while ensuring your home stays clean and safe for you and your pets!