Spotting a centipede in your bathroom is disturbing. Seeing these many-legged critters crawling under a toilet seat or wiggling out of a shower is both scary and confusing.
How did centipedes get into your bathroom in the first place? Are they dangerous? How can you get rid of these insects?
Find out the truth about centipedes in your bathroom, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them from coming back for good.
What Should You Know About Centipedes?
The house centipede that is most commonly found in bathrooms is an average length of 1 to 1.5 inches with a dark grayish yellow body. House centipedes’ legs have white bands on, making identification quite easy. When centipedes run, the 15 sets of legs scurry at high speed. Due to this speed, the centipede easily changes direction.
A centipede’s body comprises 15 segments. Each segment has a pair of legs, resulting in 30 extraordinarily long legs that have an exaggerated bend in each. The back two legs are further extended in length like antennae, while the front two legs are pincers to catch the centipede’s prey.
Most people are scared of being bitten by centipedes that have large pincers, which they catch insects with. Centipedes produce a mild toxin that can cause pain, numbness, and swelling.
Centipedes are also quite solitary, so one centipede in bathroom doesn’t necessarily mean an infestation. Breeding is a lengthy process, with the immature centipede hatchlings taking up to seven months to mature.
During the day, centipedes may hide in dark places such as behind your bathroom cabinet, under the basket planter, or under the toilet seat. At night, centipedes go on the hunt.
Why Are There Centipedes in My Bathroom?
Centipedes don’t normally like bathrooms unless these become damp spaces filled with a buffet of other bathroom invaders such as silverfish, cockroaches, spiders, and ants. A centipede is a natural predator, designed to kill and eat other insects.
Crevices and damp areas of your bathroom become a place that offers plenty of digestible fiber, cellulose, and mold to other insects. Once you have attracted insects and centipedes, you will have to take steps to rid yourself of these household pests.
How Do Centipedes Get into the Bathroom?
You’ve attracted a centipede or two from the garden when you opened a window, or they crawled up a drain pipe into your bathtub or shower. Perhaps you sunned your bathroom fern outside and a centipede crawled into the basket, hitching a ride back inside.
The damp soil of bathroom plants offers an ideal breeding ground for a few centipedes. A poorly maintained drain or any other dark and moist environment will offer lodgings to the centipedes and their eggs.
Your shower can also become a centipede home when you leave damp towels lying around instead of drying these on a heated towel rail. Damp towels and bathroom rugs are ideal for cockroaches to nest in, and wherever other insects go, your local centipede will follow.
How to Get Rid of Centipedes in Your Bathroom
When you want to get rid of centipedes in your bathroom, you have two options: kill them or catch them. Overall, centipedes aren’t harmful to humans. They don’t carry diseases, and they keep insect populations under control by eating other arthropod insects. You may not want to kill your bathroom centipedes.
First up is the humane way to get rid of centipedes, which is by catching them.
If you see a centipede in your bathroom, you can easily catch them with a drinking glass. Simply upend the glass over the centipede, slide a paper underneath, and flip the glass over to trap the centipede in the glass. Centipedes can’t climb up against smooth and slippery surfaces like glass, shower doors, or ceramic tiles.
You can then release the centipede in your garden, far away from your home. Be kind and choose a moist leafy place where the centipede can do what nature intended: catch insects.
The second way is to kill bathroom centipedes.
Sticky traps can be purchased online and you can place them in the corners of your bathroom, inside the lowest shelf of your bathroom cabinet, or under your bathroom planter. If you often see centipedes in your bathtub, they may be crawling up your drain. You can leave the sticky trap in the bathtub overnight, catching these centipedes while they are busy hunting.
The shower is also a great place to set up a sticky trap for that scurrying centipede. Simply set the trap in a corner of the shower, or rest the sticky trap on the shower drain cover. Now you can rest assured that those multi-legged critters will be caught, and then you can kill centipedes with an appropriate poison.
You can also use centipede sprays that will kill them upon contact. Poison sprays allow you to target centipedes as you see them, killing them instantly. You can purchase spray poisons, or you can mix your own with the following recipe.
In a spray bottle, mix:
- Half a cup of white vinegar.
- A few drops of dishwashing liquid.
- 45 drops peppermint essential oil.
Spray the mix deliberately on any centipedes you may encounter in your bathroom. Be sure to check the drains in your bathtub, sink, and shower, as well as the corners of your bathroom cabinets and shower door. Centipedes also like to hide in the frame of your bathroom window where they can flatten themselves, avoiding detection during the day.
Once the centipede is dead or dying, you would want to avoid picking it up with your bare hands. Centipedes have pincers and sharp teeth, so they can and will bite you. Rather use some tissues or paper toweling to pick up the centipede. Flush the dead centipede down the toilet or throw it away with the trash.
How to Keep Centipedes Out of Bathroom
When you don’t want centipedes returning, you need to ensure they have no food source in your bathroom that can attract centipedes. This means you need to get rid of silverfish, cockroaches, spiders, ants, and other moisture pests by drying out your bathroom.
Insects generally tend to want a moist area where there is mold and some surface rot for them to eat. Using the following ways to keep centipedes (and other insects) from returning to your bathroom:
- Use a dehumidifier to dry out any lingering moisture and dampness.
- Fix leaking taps to ensure your bathroom remains dry and unappetizing to insects.
- Lift any damp bathroom carpets, or have wall-to-wall carpets power washed.
- Clear out any bathroom plants or baskets that may be damp as centipedes love to hide and breed there.
- Use sticky trap tape to stop centipedes from crawling in through your bathroom windows.
- Clean out your bathroom drains by pouring half a cup of white vinegar and boiling water down them. You can also add in a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda to fizz away any critters.
- Stop centipedes entering from the garden by clearing the gutters and gathering up piles of decaying leaves or emptying your compost heap.