If you’re like me, the mere sight of a house centipede makes you a little jumpy! House centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) are indeed very unique in appearance but, (if I’m being completely honest) they are also a little creepy looking. However, knowing the house centipede is not a direct threat to humans makes me feel a little better. We are not on their menu…thank goodness! Still, we try to think of ways to deter centipedes in the most natural way possible.
Deter Centipedes | Natural Ways To Keep Them Away
It is important to note, however, that the only way you could get stung by a house centipede is if you were to handle one or possibly step on one. If stung, you would end up with a tiny red bump. If you are sensitive (or allergic) to insect stings in general then medical attention may be needed.
Let’s get to know the house centipede a little better.
What does a house centipede look like?
- Reddish brown (sometimes tan) in color.
- Long, narrow, and flat.
- It has many legs on both sides of its body.
- They have long antennae.
- Most house centipedes are around 2 inches long but, are known to reach lengths of 6 inches.
Where are house centipedes most likely to be found?
- Outdoors: They can be found under rocks and underneath logs and/or wooden boards.
- Indoors: They can be found on baseboards, around doorways and window sills, garages, and basements. It is possible to spot them crawling along your floor as they travel from point A to point B, for example.
What does their diet consist of?
House centipedes are, for the most part, nocturnal hunters. They kill their prey by injecting venom usually behind their prey’s head.
Their prey mainly consists of:
- Spiders and other insects
Now, let’s talk natural deterrent against the house centipede. While they do not pose a threat to humans, it is a little unsettling to run across one inside your home.
The natural deterrents I’ll be covering in today’s article will include:
- Essential oils
- Diatomaceous earth (dry deterrent and spray deterrent)
- Soap spray
I will also cover tips on home maintenance to keep the house centipedes at bay. Let’s get started!
Centipedes have a strong sense of smell due to having sensitive antennae. With that being said, there are scents that they can’t stand and will stay clear of. Vanilla and tea tree oil will deter centipedes, however, tea tree essential oil is the most successful of the two oils.
Here is a great DIY tea tree essential oil recipe, with instructions, that many have had great success with.
- Combine 6 ounces of water and 25 drops of tea tree essential into a spray bottle
- Mix well
- Should be done once a week to keep the house centipede away
Diatomaceous Earth (Dry Deterrent and Spray Deterrent)
The way diatomaceous earth works as far as insect deterrent/repellent in general is the DE will leave tiny cuts on the body of most small to medium sized insects as the insect crawls across the DE. Moisture will then escape the insect’s body, which in turn will lead the insect to its eventual death.
Dry deterrent method:
Sprinkle DE all around the outside of your home and/or any of their entry points.
One reason some folks prefer to use a DE spray instead of the dry DE method is due to the fact that the ‘dust’ from the DE can be harmful to your lungs if inhaled.
Here is a great DIY diatomaceous earth spray recipe, with instructions.
- Combine 1 gallon of water and 2-4 tablespoons of DE
- Mix well
- The spray can be applied to plants and also around your home and/or any of their entry points.
Important: I recommend using food grade diatomaceous earth for both the dry and spray deterrent methods, as it is safe around pets and humans and still helps deter centipedes.
Mint is among the most effective when it comes to insect deterrent! More and more people are using mint as an all natural way to repel insects…including centipedes! Centipedes hate the smell of mint.
I suggest planting mint around your home. Because mint is a fast growing plant and can become invasive due to that fact, I would suggest planting your mint plants in pots instead of your flower beds. This actually may work to your advantage, as you can move your mint plants around as you learn their exact entry points to your home.
Check out my previous article, Plants That Repel Insects and Pests, to learn more about what plants could be great deterrents for you this season!
Much like diatomaceous earth, soap will dry out most insects it comes in contact with.
Here is a great soap spray recipe, with instructions.
- Combine 1 gallon of warm water with 2 tablespoons of liquid dawn dish soap (regular blue dawn liquid soap will work the best)
- Add mixture to a spray bottle and shake very well.
- Spray this mixture inside your home and spray into dark crevices, corners, or any known entry point.
The spray will start to dry the centipede out as soon it comes in contact with the soap spray.
Tip: This exact spray recipe will also kill fleas on contact! You can also use liquid dawn soap (regular blue dawn) to bathe your dogs and cats as a completely safe alternative to flea shampoo. The fleas will die on contact!
I found this gem of information 7 years ago when I rescued a 4 week old kitten that was infested with fleas. He was way too young for regular flea shampoo so, I bathed him in liquid dawn soap (again, regular blue dawn) and it killed every flea on contact which (again) was completely safe for the little guy. It saved his life! “Taz” now lives a happy and content life…with me!
A Couple Of Tips On Home Maintenance And How To Deter Centipedes
Here are a couple of great tips on things you can do around your home, in addition to the deterrents, to help ensure that the house centipede stays away!
- Since these little guys love cool and moist air, a popular place for them is in your basement and/or bathrooms. If you find that you have a centipede problem concentrated in these areas of your home, consider placing a dehumidifier in these areas to help bring the moisture levels down a bit.
- Keeping all food containers and garbage cans sealed will help bring the centipede population down. Centipedes are not attracted to food and trash but, the insects that are attracted to food and trash are on the centipede dinner menu!
How To Good Health shows how to deter centipedes at home safe & naturally:
Do you have a deterrent or repellent for the house centipede you would like to share with us? Share with us in the comment section below.