Catching sight of a house centipede’s long legs and lighting-speed movements is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl. But understanding why these many-legged creatures end up in our homes can help prevent further invasions. This guide explores what environmental factors and resources entice house centipedes inside so you can deny them access.

House Centipede Facts

Before examining what attracts them, let’s review some key facts about house centipedes:

  • House centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) are not insects but a species of arthropods related to spiders.
  • They have elongated flattened bodies with 15 to 177 pairs of legs, depending on maturity.
  • Originating in the Mediterranean region, they are now common across the globe.
  • House centipedes are swift predators that consume other insects.
  • They dwell in dark, damp locations and prefer indoor habitats.
  • While startling if seen dashing across floors, house centipedes are not dangerous to humans.

Knowing basic centipede biology provides context on their behavior patterns and preferences that compel them to enter homes.

Moisture is a Primary Attractant

House centipedes require continuously damp conditions to survive due to their delicate exoskeletons. Indoor areas that collect or retain moisture often inadvertently create attractive refuge:

  • Basements with chronic humidity or occasional flooding issues.
  • Bathrooms and kitchens where sink or shower plumbing leaks occur.
  • Around the rim of toilets, sinks, tubs and indoor pools if not dried thoroughly after use.
  • Behind dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, or indoor plants if condensate accumulates.
  • Inside damp crawl spaces, closets or storage rooms.
  • Near AC drip lines or foundation cracks where moisture seeps in.

Carefully sealing plumbing, improving ventilation and swiftly fixing leaks denies this vital moisture. Dehumidifiers also deter centipedes.

Shelter From Light is Key

House centipedes strongly prefer dark locations and avoid illumination. When searching for shelter indoors, they target areas that block out light:

  • Hollow voids inside walls, floors, ceilings, and doors.
  • Within piles of boxes, debris, or stored items in basements or garages.
  • Under furniture, cabinets, sinks, stoves, and other appliances resting on floors.
  • Behind moldings, outlet plates, window sills, heat registers, or wall hangings.
  • Inside undisturbed piles of clothing, linens, papers, or laundry.
  • Behind shelving containing books, supplies, or piping running across walls.

Keeping their daytime hiding spots well-lit, exposed and minimal discourages centipedes seeking dark refuge.

Places That Harbor Other Prey

As voracious insectivores, house centipedes gravitate toward known feeding grounds inside homes that host abundant prey:

  • Pantries or cabinets containing grain products, which support insects like moths or beetles.
  • Pet food bowls where crumbs accumulate, attracting ants and flies.
  • House plants with gnats, aphids, or soil-dwelling organisms.
  • Stacks of firewood harboring spiders, beetles, and other arthropods.
  • Around plumbing pipes or weep holes where fruit flies and drain flies breed.
  • Near compost bins or trash cans that draw flies and roaches.

Controlling primary prey items indoors leaves centipedes with less to feed on and removes an attraction.

Cracks and Crevices for Entry

For house centipedes to gain indoor access in the first place, structural flaws around the home’s exterior are often to blame:

  • Gaps around windows, doors, pipes, wires, vents, and foundations.
  • Cracks in the foundation, exterior walls, or openings where cables run through.
  • Loose mortar, missing grout, or separated siding that creates gaps.
  • Unscreened vents for AC systems, crawl spaces, attics, and plumbing.
  • Openings around outdoor electrical outlets or spotlights.
  • Undersides of doors that do not seal fully when closed.

Vigilant maintenance to seal up potential entry routes deters centipedes migrating inside. Avoid stacking wood or debris against foundations which aids access.

Outdoor Living Areas Close to Houses

Centipedes dwelling in a home’s outdoor surroundings readily exploit chances to move inside:

  • Leaf litter, wood piles, rocks, and compost near the home’s exterior walls or vents provide shelter.
  • Overgrown landscaping against structures supplies paths to indoor entry points.
  • Adjacent crawl spaces with dirt floors and perimeter vents allow easy migration.
  • Outdoor structures like detached garages, sheds, and porches linked to the home via cables or plumbing.
  • Rocky retaining walls, planting beds, or stone decorative borders placed around the house.

Discouraging centipede living spaces adjacent to buildings helps limit indoor invasion since outside populations directly supply indoor migrants.

High Relative Humidity Levels

Centipedes favor damp conditions not only from direct moisture sources but also areas with generally high humidity:

  • Homes in regions prone to elevated humidity from seasonal rains or coastal climates.
  • Older structures with inadequate vapor barriers or moisture sealing in walls.
  • Insufficient exhaust fans or ventilation trapping indoor humidity.
  • Basements and bathrooms notorious for accumulating condensate.
  • Attics and crawlspaces taking on ambient moisture.

Maintenance to actively control humidity keeps indoor levels below 50%, which is too dry for centipedes’ comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions About Centipede Attraction

What scents attract house centipedes?

House centipedes are not drawn to specific scents. Their limited chemoreceptor organs focus mainly on detecting prey and avoiding light.

Do house centipedes come in from outside?

Outdoor populations living in mulch, soil, and leaf litter are the source of most centipedes found inside. Sealing entry points around the home’s exterior limits migration indoors.

What weather brings centipedes inside?

Summer rains, tropical storms, and autumn cooler temperatures tend to spur movements indoors seeking moisture and shelter. Peak seasons for indoor centipede sightings are spring and fall.

Do house centipedes infest certain floors?

House centipedes often congregate in basements and bathrooms at ground level where moisture accumulates most. But they will readily climb up walls to inhabit all floors if sufficient prey is available.

How do house centipedes get inside?

Small gaps in the foundation, walls, window sills, pipe penetrations, and under doors provide entry routes for centipedes. Their flat flexible bodies allow them to exploit the tiniest undulations and cracks.

Why do I have centipedes in my bathroom?

Bathrooms offer ideal dark, humid habitat. Moisture from tubs, sinks, pipes, and plumbing fixtures attracts centipedes. Clutter and cabinets provide daytime hiding spots once inside bathrooms.

Can house centipedes come up through drains?

While not their preferred entry method, house centipedes can emerge from sink, tub, or floor drains connected to sewers and crawl spaces if severe infestations exist there. Drain flies emerging from drains also serve as prey.

How do you stop house centipedes from coming in?

Prevention requires diligent sealing of all cracks they can squeeze through, reducing indoor humidity, decluttering their hiding spots, installing lighting in problem areas, and managing moisture. Contact a pest professional for severe infestations.

Do centipedes come out at night or day?

House centipedes are nocturnal and actively forage for insect prey at night. During daytime hours they remain hidden in dark cracks and voids. Most indoor sightings occur in evenings when disturbance causes them to dart out of hiding.

The Bottom Line

The key takeaway is that house centipedes’ attraction to homes stems from their affinity for darkness, moisture, shelter, and prey populations. Meticulous exclusion of these favored conditions makes centipede infestations far less likely and manageable if they do occur. With diligence, homes can be made inhospitable to prevent centipedes from taking up unwanted residence indoors. Contact Texas Bug Control today if centipede invasions in your home remain an issue despite preventative measures.

About the author : Shaun W