Killing Centipedes

For some reason, my (mostly unfinished) basement has centipedes (they almost never come upstairs). And my question is whether it’s worthwhile to kill them.

On the one had, they freak out most of the female members of the family, even more than other bugs, I think, since they move so fast. OTOH, they probably kill quite a lot of other bugs down there - otherwise they wouldn’t remain/survive.

I suppose it boils down to how many bugs they kill per day/week. I’ve decided to kill spiders, because - based on what I see in their webs - they eat so little that it’s not worth having them around. But I don’t know about cendipedes. I imagine they must use up more energy than spiders, the way they’re constantly flitting around the place. But who knows.

What are you asking exactly? Should you kill them? I say, yes, they’re pretty nasty little bugs, but IIRC they aren’t capable of climbing into your bed or burrowing into the nooks of an upholstered chair or couch.

My first year of grad school I moved into a part of the country where these new (to me!) creatures existed in plenty. I used to trap them in a cage and pit them against each other, and sometimes bring pieces of insect flesh to dine on. Of course, I was reading a lot of Spinoza at the time.

I’ve heard it can hurt like a bitch if they bite you and are big enough to puncture the skin, but if they’re just in the basement, I wouldn’t sweat it. Show no mercy on the adventurous-to-upstairs ones, but IIRC again, you’ll never ever get rid of them completely.

Whether the amount of other bugs that they kill makes it worth having them around, or not.

Spiders and centipedes are known to prey on each other, so you might leave both, and let them work out their own balance.

We’re not talking human centipedes, are we?

Is you bug-killing capacity overtaxed? Kill the centipedes and the other bugs!

Are these those silvery house centipedes or the smallish red garden centipedes or some giant tropical monstrosities or what?

If the tropical monstrous kind, Mrs Labtrash recommends this:

Take off, nuke site from orbit, done.

I hate all centipedes. Nuke from orbit anyway.

Release centipede-eating spiders into your basement. Then, when the centipedes are dead, importing Chinese needle snakes will take care of that problem. To get rid of the snakes, smuggle a type of gorilla that eats snakes. The good part is when winter comes around, the gorillas simply freeze to death

Now why didn’t I think of that?

Horrible horrible creatures. I had them in my old basement. Always felt the best bet was to roll the shop vac over and grab them. That way I didn’t have to whack them, pick up the main mass and leave legs all over the place. <shudder>

The fact that you have centipedes means there is centipede food in your house. As much as I hate centipedes, I have to let them live. If you kill them, you’re asking for a population explosion of roaches, termites or whatever the centipedes are living on.

Are they reddish brown centipedes or scutigera?
Either way I wouldn’t bother killing them.

I can’t tell what’s worse, that many-legged horror from the depths of hell or the incomprehensible part of human flesh it’s resting on. Is that a… elbow? a hand? I think it’s a wrist but I don’t know for sure.

Rebbie Jackson wants to weigh in.


Why is this even a question? Kill them! Kill them with fire!

When I read or hear the word “centipede”, my brain associates it with the following things, in this order:

  1. Rebbie Jackson

  2. Insect

When I hear or see or read the word “centipede”, my brain comes up with:

  1. KILL IT

  2. The William S. Burroughs quote: “Now what sort of man or woman or monster would stroke a centipede I have ever seen? ‘And here is my good big centipede!’ If such a man exists, I say kill him without more ado. He is a traitor to the human race.”

  3. The Internet “Centipedes?! In my vagina?!” meme from a few years back

I was going to say that I’ve never seen a centipede in real life but then I remembered that a girl in my class back in primary school had one in her shirt and she lent back on it or something and she had to go home. Other than that my life has been mercifully centipede free, and thank god for that because if the way I react to spiders is anything to go by, I would be freaking out.