A reader asks: I found a long tan colored insect crawling across my radiator cover. It was four to five inches long, had lots of legs on both sides and it moved very fast. What is it?
Dear Reader: House centipedes have long and numerous legs giving it surprising speed up walls and along ceilings and floors. Its sudden appearance can cause quite a start.
House centipedes feed on spiders, termites, silverfish, cockroaches, bed bugs and lots of other unwanted house pests. Outdoors, centipedes prefer to live in cool, damp places like under large rocks, compost piles and stacks of wood. Inside a house the centipede can be found in almost any room, but most often you'll see them in basements, bathrooms and lavatories where there is a lot more water. ***image3***
The House centipedes is a beneficial insect because it eats other pest invaders. However, its scary appearance, lightning-fast speed and ability to bite leave few homeowners who are willing to share a home with one.
If you are seeing numerous house centipedes inside you need to look for infestations of insects such as cockroaches, spider beetles, attic flies, boxelder bugs, lady beetles or other insects. The presence of centipedes tells you that you have other insects to look for. Controlling the other insects may be the key to eliminating the centipedes.
You may want to remove mulch and leaf clutter adjacent to the house foundation to allow the soil to dry out. Treating the soil along the foundation wall with an approved pesticide such as Talstar granules will also discourage invading centipedes. Read the label. Follow label instructions exactly and you should get good results.