centipede closeup St. Charles pest control

How to Get Rid of Centipedes and Silverfish

Creepy crawlies can invade your home and give you quite a scare when one appears on your wall or runs across the bathroom floor. Two common pests that are often mistaken for each other are centipedes and silverfish. Both of these pests like damp conditions and can be a nuisance to your family. How do you tell the difference?


House Centipede

Appearance: About one to 1-1/2 inches long; flattened, with one pair of legs on most of their segments; segments number from 10 to 100; yellowish, brown, or grey-yellow with bands of brown striping on their torsos and long legs.

Habits: Usually live outdoors beneath damp accumulations of leaves, stones, boards, etc.; sometimes find their way into homes, where they hide in dark, moist basements and bathrooms; when disturbed, they run fast.

Diet: Insects and spiders.

Life span: Some species live as long six years.

Harmful? They can bite humans and administer venom if cornered, but neither the bite nor the venom is dangerous. They don’t carry disease, eat your food, or damage clothing. They only eat bugs, which can actually be beneficial.



Appearance: About 1/4-1/2 inch long, somewhat “carrot-shaped” from above; grey-blue or silver; three filaments extend from rear.

Habits: Nocturnal; move swiftly, can jump; found in cool, dark, damp places like basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms.

Diet: Carbohydrates, sugars, and starches found in books, glue, silk, food, and flour.

Life span: About two years.

Harmful? They don’t bite or spread disease but can destroy books, papers, clothing, and other textiles.


Getting Rid of Centipedes and Silverfish


Remove moisture

Fix any leaky pipes and use dehumidifiers to reduce areas of high moisture. Install an exhaust fan in the bathroom. Centipedes will actually dry up and die without adequate moisture, while the silverfish will seek a new place to live.


Clean the house

Silverfish feed on anything organic so clean up food crumbs and spills and clean dishes right away. Vacuum regularly. Also refrain from stacking books, papers, mail, etc. in boxes or in high moisture areas such as basements. This is the perfect feeding ground for a silverfish. Cleaning should also get rid of other types of insects that the centipedes eat.


Store off-season clothing in sealed bins

Avoid storing your clothes in dark closets or basement areas as silverfish prefer inhabiting dark areas and will destroy your clothing. Try placing them in plastic bags or sealed bins with tight lids.

No matter how strange, intimidating, or pervasive your pest infestation, you can trust that Amco Ranger knows exactly how to handle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Give us a call today if you need helping getting rid of house centipedes and silverfish.

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