They may be creepy looking, but they are actually looking out for you.
No, I don’t mean your creepy neighbor who’s always peeping over the fence.
I’m talking about something closer to home. In fact, it’s right inside your house.
I’m talking about the house centipede.
Yes, those nasty looking critters that move in an even nastier looking fashion, but that’s as bad as it gets.
Everything else about the house centipede that has been sending you scurrying for cover is good.
So, there’s no need to take off your slipper and use it as part of your pest control equipment. Creepy as it looks, the house centipede does more good in your house than you know.
Let’s take it from the top, shall we? Perhaps you’ll come to appreciate the house centipede in your house as a gift from Mother Nature.
What Is a House Centipede?
Scutigera coleoptrata. That’s what those in the know call the house centipede running around in your house. It’s actually one of the several species of insects commonly called the house centipede.
Although the name suggests that it has a hundred legs, house centipedes actually only have 15 pairs of legs – or 30 in total. And those 15 sets of legs help them travel at a whopping 1.3-feet per second. No wonder catching them can leave you out of breath (not to mention full of frustration). In appearance, it has a yellowish-grey color.
Although this tiny creature seems to have taken over the world, it was once only found in the Mediterranean from where it originated. It is believed this hardy insect that entered the Americas via Mexico is now at home all across the continent.
Here Are Two Good Reasons You Should Let the House Centipede Be
I bet you’re wondering why you should let this creepy-looking 30-legged critter in your home. Well, let me give you a few good reasons why.
1. It Is Harmless to Humans
While this common house guest may look menacing and venomous (it is), it’s actually not harmful to humans. Don’t get me wrong, it does have fangs. But fortunately, they are not strong enough to pierce human skin. And on the rare occasions that they do manage, the bite will cause a bit of pain but that’s all it will do.
Besides being harmless, house centipedes are also clean insects. They don’t build webs or dig into your furniture in search of a home. That’s because they are active hunters, meaning they are constantly on the move. And once they are done eating, they thoroughly clean themselves – head to every toe. This means they don’t spread dirt around your home.
2. Mother Nature’s Pest Control Specialist
This is one of the main reasons you need one or two house centipedes patrolling in your house. House centipedes are insectivores. That means they prey on and feed on other insects – especially the ones you really shouldn’t have in your house. The house centipede’s menu includes silverfish, spiders, cockroaches, termites, and a whole host of other destructive and potentially dangerous pests.
This is where those creepy looking legs that send a shiver down your spine come to play. With such a large number of legs, it’s easy for the house centipede to chase and catch its prey. But that’s not the only interesting and useful use for those legs. The two front legs double as fangs (maxillipeds) the house centipede uses to inject venom into its victims.
You can’t expect 30 legs to only have 2 uses, can you? Well, let me fill you in on another use before we move on. The house centipede also uses its body and legs as a lasso. It captures its prey by wrapping its body around the prey, and those legs make sure it doesn’t get away.
I know what you’re thinking – how can something so small keep my home pest free? That’s a great question. House centipedes are known to have a very high metabolic rate. In short, they are always hungry. So yes, they can handle your pests with ease. This also has an economic benefit as you will not have to spend too much on money on pest control, which can be costly at times.
Before you squash every house centipede you see, ask yourself what you’d rather share your house with – house centipedes or other more harmful creepy crawlies?
How to Get Rid of House Centipedes – The Right Way
Ok, so those 2 reasons don’t outweigh the reasons you don’t want to share your house with a house centipede. Time to take out the slipper and squash it like the bug it is, right? Well, no, not exactly.
While squashing them may look like a quick and effective method, you won’t be able to kill the whole house centipede population with your slipper even if you had all the time in the world devoted to it. So how do you make sure you never see them scurrying around your home again? Remove the things that brought them in your house into the first place.
1. Get Rid of Their Habitat
While house centipedes may seem to thrive in any part of the house, the one major factor that keeps them there is humidity. Use a dehumidifier to get rid of humidity in the air.
You can also try and get rid of all sources of moisture in the house, like the water that gets trapped in the sink. Without water and moisture, your home won’t be comfortable for house centipedes and other pests. Which brings us to the second way of evicting house centipedes.
2. Eliminate Their Food Source
Every living thing thrives in an environment that has a good supply of food. For the house centipede, that means other insects. In order to ensure that your unwanted house centipede guests leave your home, eliminate their food source. You can do this by getting rid of moist places that these insects live and reproduce in. these moist spots provide a good breeding ground for many kinds of insects so by getting rid of them, you prevent further breeding.
Another way you can eliminate the house centipede’s food source is by sealing off all cracks that allow insects to invade your home. By caulking up the cracks and gaps in your house, you keep pests and house centipedes in your walls, the perfect feast for house centipedes. This will drive most insects out of your home and the house centipede community will follow suit. This simple fix will also benefit you as it will also help keep water out of your house in the eventuality of a leakage. Remember, moisture is an invitation for many types of insects to move in.
3. Eliminate Their Breeding Places
As said, damp places are like a welcome mat to a house centipede. This is not just because they get a place to cool down. It’s also because damp places provide them with a place to lay their eggs.
Places like basements, bathrooms, behind baseboards, or attics are notorious for being breeding grounds for house centipedes. Take extra care to remove trash and moist soil from these areas as they make perfect nests for house centipedes to lay their eggs in.
The House Centipede – Useful Friend or Unsettling Foe?
At the end of it all, it’s up to you to decide whether the house centipede is a friend or foe.
On the one hand, it eats insects that may otherwise infest your house, thereby controlling pests around your house.
On the other hand, they do look frightening. Enough so that they can be a nightmare – both in your waking and sleeping moments.
Hopefully, now that you have come to know that house centipedes are more useful than they are thought to be harmful, you’ll welcome them into your home.
But if you can’t stand the thought of sharing your home with a 30-legged freaky looking insect, do the right thing and take preventative measures instead of killing them.
Here’s to a happy pest free home – with or without the house centipede.