How to Keep Centipedes Away from Your House
There are enough creepy crawlies in Arizona to keep anyone awake at night: tarantulas, scorpions, you name it – scary bugs are abundant in this corner of the country. We’ve covered how to keep scorpions away from your home, so make sure to check out that post too. One critter regularly winning awards for the creepiest and the most legs is the centipede.
Banded Desert Centipede and the Giant Desert Centipede Call Arizona Home
Two species of centipedes are indigenous to the southern half of Arizona: The Banded Desert Centipede and the Giant Desert Centipede.
- What do they look like? They have long, flattened bodies, an abundance of very swift legs and long, protruding antennae. The Giant Desert Centipede can grow up to eight inches long (lovely). The Banded Desert Centipede is pretty hefty as well – big ones can get up to five inches in length.
- Where do they live? Centipedes usually enjoy cool dark spaces: think basements and closets or under rotting logs or stones. Centipedes feast on other insects, lizards and even the occasional frog or small rodent.
- Do they bite? Whether you encounter a Desert Centipede or a Banded Centipede, they’re typically not a welcome sight. Both species deliver a painful sting (often called a bite). Although usually not requiring a doctor’s visit (unless you’re allergic or sensitive to insect poison) centipede bites may be tender for days.
What Can I Do to Prevent Centipedes from Showing Up in my House?
The hundred-dollar question! How can you keep these nasty creatures from showing up where you least want them to? We’ll explore some tried-and-true prevention methods for both inside and surrounding the house.
In the Yard
- Centipedes love damp, cool habitats, so ensure your landscaping has proper draining, and check for broken sprinkler heads or gutters that might be leaking.
- Because centipedes prefer darkness (and they’re nocturnal), we recommend removing piles of weeds or leaves before they can become a centipede burrow. Also, it might be helpful to keep wood piles on the edge of your property.
- Double check your foundation for cracks. If you notice any gaps, caulk them – this will prevent centipedes’ and other creatures’ easy access to your house.
- If it becomes a serious issue, you can also look into safe chemical barrier treatments. We recommend organic or natural options that will keep the surrounding area healthy, and not harm birds, pets or small children.
- Fix any leaky faucets or pipes as soon as you notice them, as centipedes love curling up in dark, dank crevices.
- Keep piles of clothing or bedding off the floor, as this can easily become a centipede haven.
- Because a centipede may have moved indoors to hunt for other common pests (including cockroaches, silverfish or crickets), you’ll want to eliminate their food source. Start with exterminating other insects, and centipedes will probably move away on their own.
A swift and scary-looking centipede is never fun to encounter – but you can prevent any surprise visits by taking the right precautions both in your yard and in your house.