Centipede control tips from the experts
If you’re seeing wispy creepy crawlers in your basement or skittering over the soil of your potted plants, it’s time to implement a few centipede control measures. Although they’re not harmful to humans, the presence of these arthropods is a sign that there are moisture problems in the building or that there are cracks and other entry points that need to be fixed. Elite Pest Control’s experts have come up with some tips to help you deal with this problem.
There are about 70 species of centipede in Quebec; their common feature is a long, flat body, longish antennae and multiple fragile legs. The body of a typical Canadian house centipede is made up of about 15 segments, each featuring its own pair of legs. This structure enables the centipede to move very quickly. The first pair of legs is in fact a set of poisonous claws which are used for self-defense and to capture and paralyze prey.
House centipedes range from light to dark brown, and they can grow up to 6 cm in length. Their wispy antennae may be as long as the body itself. Most of the centipedes found in Quebec are around 2.5 cm long. If a house centipede is disturbed, it will immediately scurry towards the closest dark corner.
The preferred food of centipedes is insects; they feed on spiders, ants, beetles and insect larvae. They will also sometimes cannibalize other centipedes. The female lays her eggs in sacs and stays close to her young for about two weeks. As hatchlings grow, they emerge from each moult with a new pair of legs.
Are centipedes harmful?
As is the case with earwigs and spiders, centipedes are more unpleasant to look at than they are dangerous. It can be especially off-putting when they congregate in large numbers or if one drops on you from a ceiling crack overhead.
Keep in mind that some species of centipede can bite and inject a poisonous venom; however, the house centipede common to our province is usually unable to pierce the skin.
If you do get stung, there is no danger to your health, although you may experience some localized redness, swelling and pain. There’s no need to worry about your house pets either; if they’re bitten, there will be no lasting harm.
Find the source of the problem
Like most living creatures, centipedes are mostly made up of water. But, unlike many insects that feature waxy coatings or tough exoskeletons, centipedes can quickly dehydrate from evaporation in dry environments. That’s why they seek out damp places in buildings, including:
- Unfinished storage areas
- Closets with poor ventilation
- Wall or ceiling voids where there has been water infiltration
Some experts go as far as suggesting that there are benefits to having centipedes around, as they can control the population of bed bugs, ants and other small pest insects. However, as most people are afraid of centipedes, we’ve developed a treatment plan that can help you get them out of your house.
You’re more likely to see centipedes in your house in summer, spring and fall, when the humidity indoors is higher. Let Elite Pest Control do a free assessment of the problem at the earliest opportunity. The sooner you deal with an infestation, the easier it is to control.
How to get rid of them
If you want to get rid of an infestation, the first and most important step is to solve any humidity problems plaguing your house. Use a dehumidifier in the basement, whether it’s finished or unfinished, and repair all foundation fissures and broken or leaky pipes immediately.
Here are some other tips:
- Seal up all entry points that insects and arthropods can use to gain access.
- Run the vacuum cleaner over your carpets to remove any eggs the centipedes may have laid. We recommend you use a safety-approved insecticidal carpet shampoo.
- Keep a clean house; don’t leave food crumbs and standing water laying around.
The insecticides available at hardware stores can solve urgent pest and insect problems, but a treatment by a professional pest control technician may be necessary for a long-term solution. Call us to learn more.
Sometimes the centipedes you find in your house are garden vermin that have wandered indoors. But that’s not always the case; true house centipedes can be tricky to get rid of. Our approach to having an insect- and pest-free house involves: