How to Keep Centipedes Out of Your Bed

  • If you have noticed little creatures with so many legs in your drains, crevices, basement cracks, and bathtubs, namely, damp spaces around the private space of your house, you’re probably dealing with house centipedes infestation.   
  • How to stop centipedes from messing up with your peace of mind at home? There are several ways to get rid of centipedes, such as installing bathroom fans, using a spray bottle with pesticides, cayenne pepper, vegetable oil, essential oil to spray directly, air dehumidifier, eliminating a food source (i.e., pests), and so on.
  • Which method will you choose to keep centipedes away from your bed and avoid more trouble? Let’s learn about these creepy crawlies, their natural habitats, and pest control services.

What do we know about centipedes?

Centipedes are scary! Not because they are; they owe this first impression to their bizarre looks.

Can you imagine anything as gross as having these insects around while you sleep?

No wonder the myth about a centipede entering a human ear is so widespread —this image stimulates the imagination.

Just to calm you down a bit: there is no evidence of these insects in the ear getting into the brain.

First off, we should clarify that there are centipedes and house centipedes (also known as Scutigera coleoptrata). 

The legs of house centipedes differ from other species of centipede—they’re longer and straighter; usually, centipedes have shorter, hook-like legs. 

They are nocturnal insects with elongated, yellowish to dark brown, worm-like bodies.

They are 1 to 1½ inches long and can have 15 pairs of legs. 

Important: We’re happy to have only this kind of a tiny centipede around! Scolopendra gigantea, also known as the Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede or Amazonian giant centipede, is a centipede larger species with a length exceeding 30 centimeters (12 in).

The house centipede moves quickly and in a darting nature.  

Females lay eggs in a relatively small number. There are generally between 15-50 centipede eggs the whole life of a female centipede.

Baby centipedes are almost identical to adults with a similar flat, oval shape.

Centipedes’ habits

The first thing to know about centipedes’ habits is that they are generally outdoor bugs that favor damp places—like many other insects that we can also encounter at homes, such as cockroaches, earwigs, silverfish, and mosquitos, to mention only a few. 

There is a scientific explanation for it: Centipede’s exoskeleton lacks a waxy cuticle—it’s hard for these insects to retain moisture in dry environments. 

These curious small insects invade our buildings to settle in damp spaces in dark locations like basements, bathrooms, and crawl spaces. 

House centipede is the only centipede commonly found in human dwellings.

A centipede will venture outside their hiding places, only searching for food.

House centipedes bite insects to inject venom when they feed. Though centipede is poisonous, it won’t bite human skin. They can bite a human only if they feel the need to defend themselves. 

Important: These small insects kill other pests in our houses, such as cockroaches, spiders, bed bugs, moths, flies, silverfish, and termites. So if you want to get rid of them, resolve the other pest problem first—it will deprive them of their food source. 

During the day, they hide in damp, dark areas. The highest centipede activity occurs at night when these creepy crawlies come out to hunt for food.  

House centipedes move fast when spotted by a human and light. So they’ll search for a safe place, running up walls and under furniture (their legs undulating are amazing to watch in action, by the way). 

Are house centipedes dangerous to humans?

Luckily, they pose no significant health risks to people. Yet, while a centipede bite happens very rarely, their bite is strong enough to cause mild pain. In addition, it leaves swelling and redness that typically disappears after 48 hours. 

Victims of centipede bites are often gardeners.

Tip: To avoid bites of house centipedes while outdoors, be careful when you’re reaching into woodpiles, leaf litter, or under stones. These pests lurk in the dark, hidden areas. Centipedes bite people or pets only if they appear to pose a threat.

So although these pests are generally not harmful, directly affecting us with toxins, issues can arise when centipedes live close to people for a longer time—and they technically can spend their entire life cycle indoors, feeding on insects.

How to get rid of centipedes?

It’s worth knowing that house centipedes—and this fact may make us a little bit more sympathetic towards these many legs’ insects—come to our houses because of the bad weather! However, their prime location is outdoors. 

In the fall, they simply look for warmer environments to escape the cold and hunt for food more comfortably. Centipedes find their way in through a little crack and foundation as an entry point. As soon as they are inside, they’ll settle in a dark, damp place.

What else can attract centipedes to invade your home?

If you have other pests in your home, your place (or even bed) becomes a buffet for house centipedes. 

Therefore, if you manage to do away with the pests, you will take away centipedes’ food source. 

This is one good way to prevent a centipede infestation as early as possible. 

If you’ve already noticed their presence, use these simple tactics to get rid of a centipede infestation:

  1. Eliminate their food source (i.e., other insects); a favorite food source for centipedes is pests such as spiders, cockroaches, etc.
  1. Keep the house dry—this action alone will kill centipedes already (we explain the science behind it in the second paragraph). Use an air dehumidifier to keep your home dry.
  1. Seal crevices: House centipedes naturally back off if they have no entry point to your house.  So take care of all the cracks in the walls, spaces around the windows and doors, and cover the ground floor fixtures with a window screen—this way, you’ll prevent centipedes from coming in in the first place. 
  1. Use sticky traps: these inventions help detect various pests, also house centipedes. You can get sticky traps from your nearest store.
  1. Use insecticides: There’s no other way to go with high house infestation. Kill centipedes using pesticides that damage their nervous system and paralyze centipedes to death.
  1. Install bathroom fans: another method to stop moisture from building up in your house is to install bathroom fans. Being the entry point for many other insects and other pests, it is worth taking a careful look at the bathroom to repel centipedes from the whole dwelling. 
  1. If you’re fed up with fighting these pests off ineffectively, a pest infestation service may be the best course of action. Pest control companies are experienced enough to resolve the problem quickly. 
  1. Clear away clutter: centipedes like to hide in sheltered spaces, so they won’t feel secure enough to stay if there’s no clutter. So make sure you clear away unwanted mess and boxes from your basement, remove mulch from around the house’s perimeter, and tidy up your yard to avoid encouraging pests onto your property.

  1. Does dish soap kill centipedes? Dish soap is a natural ingredient used to kill house centipedes. Once the bug has made contact, the soap starts to dry it out until it dies.
  1. There are a few more DIY solutions to keep your place centipede-free. They include using essential oils, boric acid, natural vegetable oil spray, cayenne pepper, diatomaceous earth, and so on. Centipedes are repulsed by strong-smelling essential oils—control centipedes using peppermint oil, tea tree oil, cedar oil, eucalyptus oil, and lavender oil.

What attracts centipedes to beds?

It seems weird to see a house centipede in your bed as their natural habitats are damp, dark locations, and your bed is nothing like that! 

When a centipede moves indoors, it searches for similar conditions, albeit warmer. So if you see house centipedes crawl near your bed, know that they are looking for a bit of heat.

It’s not unusual to find a few centipedes under or inside your bed. 

Turn your bedroom less hospitable to them by setting up an air dehumidifier to reduce moisture in the area. 

Also, keep centipedes away by cleaning and decluttering the spaces around and beneath your bed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Essential oils such as tea tree oil or peppermint oil create an overwhelmingly awful experience for centipedes. All you have to do is add 25 drops of either essential oil into a 6-ounces spray bottle with water. Sprinkle it around windows, small cracks, basement doors, door frames, and other openings and entry points once a week.
It's because most carnivorous insects don't mind eating dead insects, often even from their own dead species. So make sure to remove centipedes after you've killed them. Thoroughly disposing of the dead bodies of these pests will prevent attracting other centipedes.
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