October Pest of the Month: Centipedes
Centipedes are those creepy-crawly and lightning fast little creatures with what looks like a hundred legs and pointy pinchers. If you’ve seen one, you know just how scary they can be to find in your home. But what do you really know about them?
What are centipedes?
Centipedes are arthropods—which means they’re in the same species as spiders, crabs, and scorpions. Contrary to what the name suggests, they don’t have a hundred legs, but 15 pairs of them. And those mean looking pinchers? Well, those are actually antennas. This doesn’t make them any less creepy of course. Centipedes are also carnivorous and nocturnal. That’s why you won’t see them much during the day and your plants, food, and house itself (unlike with termites) are probably safe from these elusive creatures.
Where do they come from?
Centipedes are thought to have originated in the Mediterranean but can be found anywhere with a temperate and humid climate. They tend to like warm, dark places that are also humid. This is why you usually encounter them in your bathroom or basements.
But are they dangerous?
The good news is that although centipedes are carnivorous, they exclusively go after other insects. They don’t usually bite humans but their bites can be painful and even cause a reaction much like a bee sting, especially in those that are sensitive to such things. The bigger issue with finding centipedes in your home is that it probably means you have quite a few other bugs for them to feed on, signifying a bigger pest problem.
What can I do to prevent them?
Your first line of defense would be to seal up any cracks and crevices they could use as an entry into your home in the first place.
Because centipedes like a humid environment, keeping your home dry with dehumidifiers and fans can help tremendously. Clearing the perimeter of your home of leaves and other debris can help as well.
But remember—other bugs are their food source. So, if you find a centipede in your home, it could mean you have other pests you may not know about.
The best solution is to call your exterminator to perform an inspection. They will be able to find the source of your centipede problem and get rid of those, and any other, creepy invaders for good.