There’s nothing more alarming than flicking on the light switch and seeing a multi-legged, creepy centipede staring right back at you! If you’ve ever had a centipede in the house, you know just how scary these lightning-fast insects can be.
Centipedes are a common household pest, but that doesn’t make their presence any more welcome. Let’s explore how these slitherers get into your house in the first place, and how to get rid of them for good.
Why Are There Centipedes in the House
You will find centipedes in your house, primarily during the winter months. These pesky insects hate the cold and will be drawn to the warmth of your home when the mercury starts dropping outside. They love damp, humid, dark environments like closets and basements. Their absolute favorite place to spend the winter is your bathroom.
Bathrooms provide centipedes with everything they could ever want: an abundance of humidity and moisture, plenty of hiding places, and long stretches of darkness. Since people don’t congregate in bathrooms as they do in living rooms or kitchens, centipedes are left alone; that is until someone comes in and snaps on the light.
If there’s any place that you are likely to find a centipede in the house, it’s in your bathroom. The good news is, there’s no reason why you need to live with the pests if you don’t want to.
How Do Centipedes Get in the Bathtub?
There are two ways that centipedes get in your bathtub: they either crawl or fall in by mistake, or they come up out of your drain.
Centipedes that fall or crawl into the tub are often lured there by the warmth and humidity of your pipes. Once they are inside the slick tub, they can’t escape quickly, which is why you are most likely to spot them lurking there in the morning.
Centipedes also come up through your drains. Since drains are dark, damp, and warm, they make excellent hiding places for centipedes. If you start to see multiple centipedes squiggling up from the depths of your shower or sink drain, you could have an infestation and need to snake the drain or call in pest control.
Do Centipedes Play Dead?
If you spot a centipede in the house, there’s a good chance that it will freeze before skittering off into the darkness, but this is probably more of a symptom of terror than a calculated response. Even though centipedes can scare us to death, we certainly can shock them as well!
There are many different types of bugs, such as caterpillars and ladybugs, who play dead as a defense mechanism. Centipedes have not been observed doing this. Instead of playing dead, your resident centipede is likely to run off behind the TV to avoid being captured or squished.
How Can I Rid My Bathroom of Centipedes
If you don’t relish the idea of sharing your bathroom with centipedes, you are not alone.
Fortunately, it’s not terribly difficult to get rid of centipedes. All you need is a little bit of diligence and elbow grease.
Centipedes love dark, warm, humid places, so if you want to keep them away from your bathroom, make sure that you open a window to keep it less tropical inside. If your bathroom is big enough and it’s feasible to do so, consider getting a dehumidifier. Not only will you be warding off centipedes, but you will also be keeping your bathroom mold-free.
Clean your bathroom regularly, including doing maintenance on the drains, to deter centipedes and other insects from coming inside. You can also check your molding and caulk or fill any holes. Centipedes will follow the path of least resistance and find another place to call home if they can’t locate an easy way into your bathroom.
When Are Centipedes Active?
The centipede in the house is a nocturnal creature, napping during the day and coming alive when the sun goes down.
Although it might be unpleasant to think about centipedes crawling around your home at night, that’s precisely what they prefer to do. Centipedes do not like light and will wander through your pipe system or across your walls late at night, searching for nocturnal snacks.
Their love of hunting and exploring in the wee hours of the night is exactly why you might snap on the bathroom light and startle one of these many-legged pests. Don’t worry. If you take precautions during the day and be on the lookout for a centipede infestation, you can sleep soundly knowing that they have moved on to another home.
Can Centipedes Hurt Me?
Since they look so fearsome, many people wonder if a centipede is dangerous. The simple answer is: it depends on where you are in the world. In certain tropical places, centipedes are dangerous because they have potent venom and can grow several inches long. In much of the rest of the world, centipedes are not dangerous, although they can certainly look fearsome.
Most of the centipedes that you are likely to come across in your home will be smaller and much less aggressive than those in equatorial regions of the planet. Although all centipedes can bite, the typical house variety won’t be able to inflict much damage on you.
House Centipede Bites
You might experience a small sting or irritation, but nothing more. Still, it’s not advisable to squash or pick up a centipede with your hands. Instead, use a paper towel or tissue. If you want to be kind, you can trap the centipede in a plastic container and take it outside.
Centipedes love wet leaves and plants, and since they eat other insects, they can be a huge ally in your garden.
Final Word on Centipedes in the Tub
It’s very common to have centipedes in the house, especially in the bathroom. If you see one in your bathtub or crawling up your drain, don’t worry. It’s quite common to have them, and they are generally not a sign of an unclean house or a larger infestation. Simply take the steps outlined here to keep centipedes at bay, and these long, leggy insects will find another place to call home.