Centipedes are often unwelcome guests in a person's home. The mostly likely species to be found indoors is the Scutigera coleoptrata, and this house centipede can complete its entire life cycle indoors, including breeding. Some people describe these bugs as beneficial, as they eat insects, including spiders, cockroaches, termites, and flies. However, most people find them creepy to look at and wish to find the most expedient way to get rid of them.
To get rid of centipedes, remove all debris from around your home. If you have wood or leaf piles that sit close to your home, move them away to remove cool sheltering spots that centipedes may choose to hide under during the day. Likewise, it's wise to move trash cans away from the side of your home. Next, seal up any cracks or holes through which these critters can crawl, making it more difficult for them to invade your home in the first place.
Once you've removed hiding places from around the outside of your home, it's time to go inside and get rid of the centipedes that have already invaded. Typically, centipedes take up residence in bathrooms and basements, as they need a damp place in which to dwell. Place dehumidifiers in these damp locations to discourage these pests. It's also helpful to run air conditioners and sprinkle baking soda when you vacuum rugs, which may help to remove excess moisture from the air. If the environment is dry enough, centipedes will die without any additional effort on the homeowner's part.
Spray insecticides that contain permethrin are useful when you want to get rid of centipedes. In fact, most spray insecticides, including those labeled for ants and roaches, are capable of doing the job. However, if you happen to see one when you are unarmed with insecticide, you may simply squash it under your shoe, hit it with a heavy book, or trap it in a jar and release it outside your home.
For those concerned about spraying insecticides, there are less toxic ways to get rid of centipedes. Sticky traps that are usually used for ants and roaches work just as well for centipedes. Place them around walls, doorways and windows. Centipedes will become stuck to the traps and die of starvation. This type of trapping may provide an added benefit, allowing you to trap other bugs and see what prey is making your home so attractive to these pests.
Boric acid and diatomaceous earth are natural pesticides that can be used to get rid of centipedes. These powdered insecticides can be sprinkled in corners and around the edges of floors as well as near cracks that you may have difficulty sealing. When a centipede crawls over either of these powdered substances, tiny scratches will form on its body, causing it to dehydrate and die. Keep in mind, however, that though these substances are considered non-toxic, they can cause irritation to the mucous membranes and lungs. As such, it is best to wear a protective mask during application and wash your hands once you're done.