Countless house centipedes have met their fates at the receiving end of a rolled-up magazine, a cup, or a shoe.
But they’re getting a bum rap.
While they’re indeed creepy and crawly, and they’ve certainly sent the heartiest of us out a room screaming, they’re good to have around. If you can get past your squeamishness, it’s best to let them live.
Centipedes are on a constant search for their next meal. They dine on mostly unseen and more problematic insects, including silverfish, termites, moths, flies, and cockroaches.
House centipedes can have anywhere from 15 to 177 pairs of legs, depending on the species. They use them to stun and capture prey with a technique called “lassoing.” With the pair closest to their head, they poison their victims with venom and wrap themselves around the dying insect for a satisfying meal. This bug is also one of the few that doesn’t have a nest or web and isn’t problematic in terms of disease or destruction to your home.
If you can’t live with house centipedes, the best defense is a good offense.
Start by getting rid of their food. This means reducing moisture with a fan or dehumidifier, sealing off cracks where pests are prone to settle and lay eggs, and keeping trash indoors to a minimum.
Sure, the occasional centipede will still find his way in, no matter what you do. Just resist the urge to whack one out clean out of existence. You’ll reap the benefits of fewer pests and walk away with improved karma.
Do centipedes make you uncomfortable? Let us know in the comments below!