The Only Way To Keep Centipedes Out Of Your Bed For Good

  • Written By: Phil Hawes
  • Time to read: 8 min.
centipede on a bed

If you are reading this article, chances are that you have a problem with centipedes in your bed. It has happened to a lot of people at one point or another: a centipede crawls into your bed and runs up your arm while you sleep. And I’ll be the first to say that it’s not pleasant!

Luckily, there is an answer to getting rid of these pesky critters for good.

The best way to stop centipedes from getting into your bed is to make your bedroom less humid and to remove any food and water source. Centipedes are not seeking a human host and are only drawn to beds in search of other resources and habitats. In some cases, centipedes can be desirable in the home.

Contrary to what a lot of people think, centipedes aren’t found in beds because they want to be there. There is a lot more to it than that.

Read on as I discuss how to get them out of your bed and house and keep them out for good!

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What attracts centipedes into your home?

Centipedes, like all other pests, are attracted to the food and water sources found in homes as well as the ideal conditions for them to survive and breed. Although centipedes are very adaptable creatures, they prefer dark, moist, and warm environments. These can be found very easily in most human habitation.

Unlike other creepy crawlies that we would consider pests, centipedes aren’t attracted to your leftover food. Centipedes eat other small creatures and insects from moths, to spiders to other centipedes that they find in order to survive.

Often centipedes will feast on other pests in your homes, such as ants, cockroaches, and bed bugs.

This taste for bed bugs is probably what leads many a centipede into your bedroom and, in many cases, up into your bed.

Can centipedes climb beds?

Centipedes are known to be good climbers. They can climb up walls and across ceilings, so they have no problem climbing beds.

While the top of your mattress may not be a centipede’s ideal habitat for several reasons (such as lack of moisture), there are plenty of other places where you’re likely to find one while sleeping: under the bedspread or sheets, in between bed slates, etc.

Unlike other pests such as bed bugs, the centipedes are probably not in bed with you because they are attracted to humans.

The centipede is just looking for a moist place to live and a plentiful supply of food, which is possible if you have other untreated pest infestations.

Why do I have centipedes in my bedroom?

As I’ve said before, centipedes are always looking for a great food source and ideal living conditions for them. If you have a master bathroom connected to your bedroom then the centipedes are probably gravitating to that room, of from it.

One sure way to make your room less desirable to centipedes is to reduce the humidity in your bedroom and bathroom. You can pick up portable humidifiers or even have a professional install a dedicated unit in your home.

You can also investigate your bedroom to see if there are food sources for centipedes, such as ants, cockroaches, spiders and bed bugs which are most likely to be there. Killing off these pests will naturally drive out the centipedes.

You should also make sure the doorways of your bedroom and bathroom are sealed properly since they can be a way for centipedes to get inside from the outside.

What scent keeps centipedes away?

Centipedes have a very sensitive antenna, so they are easily repulsed by strong-scented essential oils. This means you can use a variety of things to deter them.

Here are a few essential oils you can try to get rid of centipedes:

  • Peppermint oil
  • Vanilla oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Citrus oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Eucalyptus oil

And here are some herbs and plants that can be used to get rid of centipedes:

  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Garlic
  • Onion

To prevent centipedes from infesting your home, try one or more of these options. You can also just add a few teaspoons of each oil into a mason jar and mix with water. Try applying these scents in key locations such as the corners of rooms, along floorboards, or in the bushes around your house.

Make sure to avoid using this around any pets, people with allergies, or sensitivity to these essential oils and herbs that have been used as pesticides. And of course, if you don’t care for any of these smells don’t use them as they are pretty pungent.

Does cayenne pepper repel centipedes?

Cayenne pepper does work to repel centipedes as a natural repellent. The spice won’t kill them, but it does help keep them away from your home. Luckily, you can purchase cayenne pepper at any good grocery store and you probably even have some in your pantry right now.

Sprinkle the spice around your home’s entryways, such as around doors, windows, and patio doors.

You can use cayenne pepper to form a barrier that entices centipedes out of your home. It is safe for dogs and cats, but you should probably keep your kids away from it as it could accidentally get into their eyes.

Does cinnamon keep centipedes away?

Cinnamon oil and powder is an effective centipede repellent. However, It gives off a very strong fragrance that those who don’t like the smell should avoid using.

If you need to get rid of centipedes fast, this is a great natural way by sprinkling ground cinnamon or using cinnamon sticks. Just like all other scents, place them around doors and windows, and patios.

Why you should never squish a centipede?

Centipedes are actually no danger to humans as they don’t carry any harmful diseases and rarely bite us. These critters are actually very good at hunting down the real pests in our homes and can be great allies. killing them or trying to repel them could actually lead to other more serious pest infestations flaring up.

Rather than actively killing a centipede, it’s best to try and get rid of them by targeting their food source. Once your other pest issue has abated, these animals will just leave your home. Until then, you can try to keep them out of certain places, such as your bedroom, by making the environment cleaner and drier.


How do I get rid of centipedes in my house naturally?

If you want to stop sharing your home with centipedes but don’t really want to kill them, there are ways to naturally push these home invaders out. One of the best ways to deter them, as I mentioned above is through scent. The other ways are to make the home environment less than ideal for them.

Fix Moisture Problems That Lead to centipedes

Getting rid of centipedes is often a difficult process, and stopping the pests can be done by reducing moisture around your home. These pests love moist and humid environments, and this is probably why you are finding them in your home.

To avoid having centipedes in your house: Turn on a dehumidifier, especially in rooms without adequate airflow. Also, have a good inspection of your home and repair any water leaks from kitchen or bathroom pipes.

This is not only going to help ward off centipedes but other pests such as cockroaches and ants.

Tidy up House Clutter

It can be hard to get rid of centipedes because they like to hide in places. Start by looking at the whole house and discarding things that you don’t need anymore. If you basement or garage is a mess, then it may be a perfect breeding ground for this type of pest.

Centipedes will avoid sites with an open surface, and they can flee if even the slightest bit of protection is found.

Eliminate their Food Source

Centipedes are primarily carnivorous so they will be seeking out other bugs for food. If you have centipedes in your house, then there are likely other pests that are drawing them there. This may include roaches, beetles, other bugs that are small in size, and even other centipedes which they will also eat. If you are able to get rid of these pesky pests, the centipedes themselves will eventually leave your home.

If you have tried all of these humane ways to force centipedes out and failed, you may need to try a natural way to exterminate them.

Using Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

This naturally occurring powder called Diatomaceous Earth (link to this product on Amazon) can help eliminate your house centipedes. It will kill the pests by drawing moisture from their surface, dehydrating them through the absorption of oils and fats.

I recommend sprinkling a fine layer of food-grade diatomaceous earth on areas where the centipedes are likely to frequent. This method will only work if the arthropods crawl over the powder, so be quite liberal with your application and target several areas of the home.

Are centipedes afraid of the light?

centipedes do not like the light and will generally shy away from it and seek out dark and damp places to feed and breed. You will often find them under sinks or kitchen cabinets but they can be seen in transit as well.

However, simply keeping your bedroom light on to stop them from crawling into bed with you is not the answer. You need to actively try to deter them with strong smell scents, as mentioned above, or natural and chemical treatments. They won’t just leave on their own accord if there is food and warmth for them.

Do centipedes crawl in your ear?

Centipedes do not expressly target the human ear, but several cases have arisen with this critter crawling into the ear canal while people slept. This is actually very dangerous and can lead to hearing loss and a lot of damage to the internal ear. Likely the centipedes are attracted to the dark and moist orifice as it simulates their ideal habitat.

There was a case from Arkansas of a teenager pulling a living 4-inch long centipede from his ear. It had become lodged in there while he slept and luckily by seeing immediate medical assistance he was saved from permanent hearing loss.

However, this is one of a few rare cases and the fact that you have seen a centipede around your home doesn’t automatically mean that the same thing will happen to you.

Should you kill centipedes in the backyard?

If you see centipedes in your backyard that’s probably quite a beneficial thing. Firstly, they are far away from your bedroom and unlikely to get into bed with you. And secondly, centipedes are actually a wonderful bug to have around your property.

Centipedes are terrific at killing pests and other bugs, like mosquito larvae. And they do this by eating them. So if you enjoy the idea of having fewer mosquitoes around in your yard then centipedes will be a welcome sight to see there!

Apart from eating some of the pests you may have in your garden, they are also great for the quality of your soil as they burrow into it. So, from a gardener’s point of view, it’s much better to have these animals in your backyard than in your bedroom.

If you don’t want these helpful creatures on your property because they could creep you out, then you can use some of the natural repellents I’ve given you on the list. These will help to keep them off your property and away from where you live, if not permanently then at least for a while until they find their way back again.

To get rid of them for good, you can employ Diatomaceous Earth (link to Amazon) which will kill them off along with a number of other pests which could eventually make it into your home.

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