Centipedes are a type of predatory arthropod that can be a significant nuisance for residents in Honolulu. While vacationers may never experience the giant centipedes in Hawaii thanks to constant pest control in hotels, you might have first-hand run-ins with these creepy intruders year-round.
What kinds of centipedes live on Oahu?
Our island is home to three main types of centipede: Vietnamese centipedes, stone centipedes, and Mecistocephalus Maxillaris. You’ve probably encountered them crawling around floors in your living spaces and garages, or even scaling walls in your bathroom.
Some varieties of centipede that crawl around Oahu can grow as long as 12 inches, and their armor-like exterior makes them tough to kill with a simple stomp. Out of the three common centipedes that live in our area, the Vietnamese centipede is by far the most dangerous. If you’ve ever gone camping or hiking, you may encounter their painful bite. A centipede bite is rare, although not unheard of, and can cause a lot of pain. It’s not uncommon that Vietnamese centipede bites result in a trip to the emergency room.
Most of the time, centipedes are just a nuisance. Common house centipedes have many legs and dart around with high speeds in unpredictable patterns. Centipedes are nocturnal, although it’s not unheard of to find them during the day, perched up on the side of a wall in your garage. There is nothing like a nighttime trip to the restroom, only to see one of these critters scurrying across the wall.
How can I tell the difference between centipedes and millipedes?
If you’re unsure whether you’re seeing centipedes or millipedes around your home, a few characteristics make it simple to tell the difference. Centipedes move much faster and tend to have longer legs with flatter bodies. They also have one set of legs per body segment. If you find a fast-moving critter with longer legs (in this arthropod family) in your house, it’s most likely a centipede.
Millipedes move slower, typically living outdoors, and have slightly more cylindrical bodies. Millipedes also have two legs per segment. For the most part, millipedes only enter houses when heavy rains push them outside from their underground hiding spaces. They aren’t dangerous and will usually die on their own indoors without moist soil.
What attracts centipedes to my house?
Centipedes are attracted to areas that are damp and dark. In Honolulu, we have no shortage of humidity. If your home harbors humidity, centipedes can follow.
This issue can worsen if you have any cracks or crevices in which centipedes can slither their way through. Gaps in the bottom of doorways, windows without screens, and cracks are easy ways for centipedes to get inside.
If you have a lot of other insects or spiders in your home, this can also lure in centipedes as they are predatory. Centipedes will feed on bugs on spiders, so they have more incentive to come inside if there are lots of insects and spiders on which to feast.
How to Prevent Centipedes From Entering Your Home
The best way to get rid of centipedes is to eliminate factors that lead to a favorable environment. The next step is to block possible entry points to physically stop centipedes from getting indoors. Try using these tips on your own to prevent centipede infestations.
- Use a dehumidifier: Centipedes are drawn to and thrive in, extreme humidity.
- Eliminate clutter: Centipedes live in dark, hidden areas. By keeping things tidy and eliminating clutter, you are getting rid of possible living spaces.
- Seal any cracks and gaps: Remember, centipedes are small and thin. They can slip through tiny cracks around the exterior of your home that you may not have paid attention to in the past. Take a walk around the outside of your house and carefully inspect for cracks and crevices. Seal them with caulk to prevent centipedes from entering.
- Repair windows and doors: If there is a break in the sealing around your windows and doors, centipedes can enter. Repair or replace broken and cracked sealing. Pay close attention to tears in window screening.
If you’ve tried all of these methods and still see centipedes, you need professional centipede control.
If you begin seeing centipedes regularly, you likely have an infestation. Even if you remove or kill each one you find, eliminating them one at a time will never fully solve the entire problem. Centipedes are fast and excellent at hiding. If you find one, there are usually many more that you don’t see.
If you’re in Honolulu, Hawaii, and have a centipede problem, contact to set up an inspection or begin professional centipede control services at your home. Call us or fill out the contact form on this page to get started!