Centipedes can be helpful outdoors as they feed on unwelcome insects, spiders and other pests. But when they move inside, these many-legged creatures are unsettling. Centipedes hunt at night and use venomous claws to paralyze their prey. Large centipedes can kill tarantulas and even small mice. Human bites are rare, but they do happen – and when they do, they're painful. Adult centipedes live for several years.
Identification: Depending on the species, centipedes grow up to 6 inches long, with anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs. Their long, flattened bodies are usually yellowish gray or brown with tints of green or red. The common house centipede grows about 1 inch long, with 15 pairs of long, striped legs and two long, slender antennae. Centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment (millipedes have two pair). Centipedes move very fast when disturbed. They often stop, just as quickly, and then scurry on.
Signs/Damage: The only sure sign of centipede problems is seeing the pests themselves. They prefer moist environments. Outdoors, find them hiding under leaf debris, in wood piles or under rocks, and in mulch around home foundations. They crawl into homes through cracks and crevices during warm weather. They sprint across walls, ceilings and floors, often seeking damp, dark, basement corners.
Control: Large numbers of centipedes around or in your home warn that other pest issues may exist. Effective control involves eliminating centipede food sources. GardenTech® brand offers highly effective controls that kill more than 500 insect pests and keep protecting for up to three months*. These non-staining formulas treat lawns, soil, gardens and your home's foundation up to a maximum height of 3 feet:
- Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Spray attaches to a regular garden hose for easy application. The pesticide measures and mixes automatically with water as you spray to kill and control pests that attract and sustain centipedes.
- Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate, used with a pump-style sprayer, simplifies treatment of larger landscape areas and allows for precision spot treatments as well. With its easy-to-use measuring cap, just add water to your sprayer and mix well.
Tip: Caulk and repair foundation cracks or crevices to keep centipedes out of your home. Keep foundations free of fallen leaves and plant debris, and correct drainage issues that encourage moist spots centipedes prefer.
Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully.
*These products provide up to 3 month control on all listed insects except ticks.
GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.
Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.