You see a bug in your house, you squish it, right? Unless you’re one of those kind souls who prefers to trap the bug then set it free outside, you probably don’t think twice about the shoe you use to stop it in its tracks. So what I’m about to tell you probably goes against every fiber in your being: don’t kill house centipedes.
As creepy as they are with their long bodies and too many legs to count, there’s a pretty good reason why you should let them live. When you find one crawling around your bathroom, just remember that they might be the only thing standing between you and a bathroom full of other creepy creatures.
The house centipede is a little shorter than his family friends, and he has about 30 legs. He isn’t exactly attractive to look at, but he’s one of nature’s best defenses against other unwanted house guests. The house centipede has an interesting diet. It’s full of spiders, ants, bedbugs, cockroaches and silverfish.
Silverfish tend to share the same environment with centipedes. They both enjoy cool, humid areas, which often makes your bathroom the perfect home. If you spot a centipede crawling around your home but you haven’t noticed any other bugs, particularly silverfish, you probably have your own personal creepy-crawly exterminator to thank.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should let your home become a free-for-all for house centipedes. But instead of killing them, consider scooping them into a jar and putting them outside in an area around your home with lots of damp leaves and rocks. He can continue his lunch in peace and help stop a few creatures from finding their way into your home.
Or, you can leave him inside and let him do his job. If you don’t bother him, he won’t bother you. The best part is, you don’t even have to pay him for his services.
Check out the killing power of the house centipede!
Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
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