Household Remedies to Kill Centipedes

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Centipedes may not be deadly, but they're unwelcome in most homes.
Centipedes may not be deadly, but they're unwelcome in most homes. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Even if you don’t have a bug phobia, centipedes are frightening. Centipedes move very fast and have poison glands, although their bites are more painful than dangerous. These multilegged menaces love cool, damp places and can produce hundreds of offspring in a single season. Kill these segmented pests with items you might already have around your home.

Dry Out

Centipedes thrive in damp, moist spaces. Eliminating those wet spots is one of the simplest ways to kill invading centipedes. Clean up wet piles of wood and leaves and mop up puddled water. If dampness is an issue in your attic or basement, plug in a portable fan and direct the airflow over the damp spots. Constant circulation dries the air.

Rubbing Alcohol

Squirt offending insects with a jet of pure rubbing alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol comes in a variety of strengths, and 98 percent pure alcohol kills centipedes much faster than weaker concentrations. Fill a small squirt bottle with alcohol and adjust the nozzle to produce a solid stream. Coat offending pest with alcohol and dispose it in a bag after it dies. It may take repeated sprayings to kill larger centipedes.

Diatomaceous Earth

This potent powder is made of pulverized shells of prehistoric sea plants called phytoplanktons. The tiny bits of sharp shell cut through the centipede’s hard exoskeleton, resulting in death via dehydration. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth directly over traveling centipedes, or spread it over the ground in areas where you’ve seen them.

Boric Acid

Boric acid, a natural product found in household products from foot powder to eye wash, is an effective tool in the fight against centipedes. This weak acid is commonly found in commercial insecticides. It kills centipedes by invading the exoskeleton and dehydrating the bugs. Coat damp spots and entryways frequented by centipedes. The powder coat centipedes as they scuttle around in it, killing them in days.

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