7 Scents That Centipedes Hate (And How To Use Them)


A macro shot of a centipede on a concrete floor

Centipedes are good, helpful bugs, but they can be rather terrifying guests in your home! Luckily for us, there are a handful of scents that centipedes dislike.

Centipedes are pests that can sometimes be seen inside your home. Generally, they’re inside your home looking for food sources or shelter. You can repel centipedes with scents they hate, such as peppermint oil, tea tree oil, rosemary oil, clove oil, thyme oil, lavender oil, and eucalyptus oil. 

If you are looking for a more natural way to repel centipedes, this is the list for you! Read on to learn more about our full piece on the scents that centipedes hate and how to keep these very, very creepy crawlers out of your home.

Are Centipedes Good Bugs?

Centipedes are arthropods. They have a flat body with, as their name suggests, many legs. Usually a dark brown in North America, their flattened bodies help them squeeze through cracks in entrances to homes. This makes it tricky to keep them out.

Centipedes eat other bugs such as cockroaches, so preventing cockroaches is the main way to prevent centipedes. However, that does not always stop centipedes from turning your home into theirs.

Many are afraid of these crawling insects in your drain, and that can be the main reason one would want to keep them out of your home. Regardless of how scary they may seem, centipedes rarely do bite humans. Their bites aren’t typically dangerous but if you get bit by a centipede, you should consult an expert.

With that said, centipedes are even beneficial to the environment by helping the population control other insects, like cockroaches! Preventing clutter, cockroaches and moisture in your home can help reduce their presence in your house. 

Why Are There So Many Centipedes In My Home?

A macro shot of a centipede on a concrete floor

Centipedes are a lot like spiders. If you have centipedes, you also may have another bug problem such as cockroaches. Like all living creatures, they are hunting for a free and easy meal, so your other pests are just that for them. Make sure you treat to prevent those pests as well.

The diet of a centipede is mainly insects like cockroaches, beetles, crickets, and spiders. They will sometimes eat vegetation, but usually, if you see them in or around your houseplant, it is just for shelter. 

Where Are Centipedes Usually Found In The Home?

Have you ever lifted a log outside? If so, I am sure you have seen millions of bugs crawling around. One of those bugs is usually, always a centipede. Centipedes love damp areas like under fallen logs. Most of the time, you will see them crawling around your bathroom. 

As humans, we often sleep at night. Right? Just roll with it.

Centipedes, however, thrive in the nighttime. Due to our natural opposite sleeping schedules, they flourish inside our homes. Most people will not see them unless they make a late-night trip to the bathroom or into the basement and see these bugs out and about. 

As we mentioned earlier, centipedes are a predator or cockroaches, so having centipedes around could mean you have cockroaches. You can read our full guide on the scents that roaches hate here!

Luckily, we can use scents to signal to centipedes that the place they’re trying to find home or shelter (your home) is not for them. Let’s get to it!

Peppermint Oil Repels Centipedes From Your Home

Peppermint oil is a fantastic scent for all kinds of pest deterrents. Chances are if you have ever looked up any manner of a deterrent, peppermint is first on every list. This is due to the pungent properties of the plants oil.

One way you can incorporate peppermint as pest control is by growing it. However, be careful as the plant loves to spread and is highly invasive. There are many varieties to grow and you can even make your own tea from the plant. 

Plant mint around the entrances of your home to help deter bugs from coming around. It will deter many pests, along with centipedes!

Peppermint oil is another way to utilize this amazing scent to repel centipedes and honestly, it’s preferred to plants as its concentration of peppermint scent is much stronger than peppermint plants.

Dilute the peppermint oil into a spray bottle with water and spray around all your entrances and cracks in your home. This will not only help prevent centipedes from entering, but your house will smell amazing.

You could also use peppermint oil-based cleaners in and around your home. This will help determine the centipedes from coming around. You can make these yourself or purchase some online. 

If you are not too sure about this DIY spray, you can always buy this Mighty Mint Insect and Pest Control Peppermint Oil Spray! It is all-natural, non-toxic, and works for all sorts of bugs!

Centipedes Hate The Smell Of Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oil has been renowned for years for its properties in repelling lice from hair. It is a powerful scent and can be rather offensive to most pests, including centipedes.

The easiest way is to add the oil onto cotton balls and place these where centipedes might hide. This method will have them staying outside your home!

Another way is to make this spray at home is by diluting around 20 drops of the oil into water. Spray this mixture around doorways, cracks, and other potential entry or hiding places for centipedes. Doing this takes time and will need to be reapplied often.

Remember, as with all of these scents, consult your vet to make sure it’s OK to spray near your pet.

Centipedes Hate Rosemary

close up of centipede on bricks

Rosemary is not only a beautiful shrubbery but also a fantastic deterrent for centipedes. You can use this scent in many ways to help prevent these pesky invaders from your home!

Rosemary shrubs can be a beautiful addition to any landscape. This plant will not only deter bugs but has many versatile uses. These include crafts like wreath making, culinary uses, and infusing it into oil to make bath products! Plant this plant in place of the more conventional landscaping plants for a beautiful pest deterrent. 

Use rosemary oil around the home to help prevent centipedes from making themselves at home. By either diluting or using cotton balls, you can add a rosemary scent to the areas of your home where centipedes are likely to live. This will help tell centipedes that your home is not a place for them!

Clove Oil Deters Centipedes

Clove oil is a strong oil derived from clove seeds. In large amounts, clove can cause your mouth to go numb, an effect noticeable in the oil as well. 

Clove oil is acaricidal, meaning it kills members of the Arachnida family. This family includes spiders, ticks, and mites.

You can use clove oil in a spray bottle or on cotton balls in places that centipedes frequent near your home. Another way is to add it to your mop water and use it to clean your floors. 

An added benefit is that clove oil is antibacterial and anti-fungal. Using it to clean your house provides natural cleaning properties, which helps keep harmful chemicals out of your house.

Thyme Will Keep Centipedes Away

Thyme is a common herb, often praised for its excellent flavors in culinary applications. You will not be cooking with it. Bugs often hate thyme, and the centipede is no exception to this. Thyme will not only deter centipedes but also the food sources of centipedes from your home. A double whammy for the price of one!

Many choose to use thyme as a companion plant in their gardens as a natural pest (and centipede) deterrent. Using this same practice, you can incorporate thyme into your landscaping to help deter centipedes from calling your home their own.

You can purchase thyme oil and use it as a dilutted spray or use cotton balls soaked in thyme oil. Adding it around your home can help drastically improve the pest-deterring properties of the oil. Either dilute it into a spray or add to cotton balls like you would any other oil!

Use dried thyme around the home as a potpourri. You can either dry the herbs from your own plant and add them into sachets or use store-bought. For a bonus, soak the herb in thyme oil and other oils centipedes hate!

Remember to consult your vet if you have any pets around before application.

The Scent Of Lavender Keeps Centipedes Away

insect centipede indoors.

Lavender is a wonderful herb to have around! It is renowned for its relaxing properties and makes a fantastic bath herb or used in tea. The plant grows well in most gardens and enjoys dry soil.

The flowers would make a fantastic addition to any front garden bed to help deter centipedes and other insects that dislike lavender.

You can use lavender inside your bathroom for a lovely solution to help deter centipedes from making your drains their home. Lavender smells fantastic to most people, so using it inside your home should not be an issue. Add satchels of lavender buds around your home in areas where centipedes are most prevalent and use lavender oil-based cleaners to keep centipedes away.

Eucalyptus Scent Repels Centipedes 

Eucalyptus is another one of those bathrooms staples for most people and is renowned for its properties in clearing the sinuses. So often, people hang eucalyptus branches in their shower, and the steam will release the oils throughout their bathroom!

This will help prevent centipedes from making your bathroom home. However, you can also use Eucalyptus, in various other ways to prevent insects, such as carpet beetles.

You can diffuse eucalyptus oil in your home, use eucalyptus branches in your home or make a diluted eucalyptus oil spray as well to repel centipedes from your house.

Areas To Put Centipede Repellents In Your Home

close up of centipede

Where you add repellents is the most important part of using them. If you place them in areas where centipedes would naturally avoid, it is wasting products and your time.  Areas of importance are as follows:

  • Bathrooms
  • Garages
  • Foundation cracks
  • Basements
  • Drains
  • Attic
  • Under clutter
  • Gardens (for plants)

It is important to spray these areas and tidy up any clutter they may deem to be the optimal home for themselves. You can also use repellents around anywhere they may enter your home to help prevent them from gaining access to the inside of your house. 

Other Ways To Keep Centipedes Away

Outside of scents, there are a few other ways to keep centipedes away for good.

Keeping your house tidy is the key to preventing centipedes from invading your space. Centipedes are attracted to moist, warm environments. This makes your bathrooms, attics, and basements prime real estate for these creepy crawlies. They also feed on other insects such as cockroaches, so eliminating food sources for cockroaches is key to preventing the centipedes from invading. 

Keeping your outside area picked up of all leaves and logs and other items that centipedes may call home will also help deter them from being around your home and thus preventing them from entering your home. 

Another key thing to preventing centipedes and other bugs from entering your home is to seal all cracks and crevices that they may slip through. Use caulk and other agents to seal your home. Windows and doors are major sources of entrance for all bugs, and sometimes the tiniest crack in the framing can allow in a plethora of unwelcome guests. 

Another fantastic natural deterrent is diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is made from the sediment of algae fossils from the ocean. This powder-like substance is like razor blades to insects, so naturally, they do not want to walk over it or else it will kill them. 

Add the powder around doorways and other areas outside where the insects are likely to live. It will make a mess inside your home so it is not recommended to use it inside.

Why Should I Not Eliminate Centipedes?

Centipedes bites rarely cause issues for humans (but consult an expert if you’re bitten.) They eat other insects and thus balance the natural ecosystem. Having centipedes in your home and around your home does not mean that your home is dirty. 

Centipedes just sometimes like to live in drains and bathrooms and areas of that nature! It may indicate a bigger issue, such as cockroaches. However, eliminating them is not the solution. They do more good being around by eating bugs that could cause harm!

References

Bechinski, Edward, and Frank Merickel. HOMEOWNER Guide To. 2009.

Jun 6, Factsheet | HGIC 2410 | Updated: and 2005 | Print. “Centipedes.” Home & Garden Information Center | Clemson University, South Carolina, 2005, hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/centipedes/. Accessed 2 Nov. 2021.

Koehler, P.G., et al. “ENY-221/IG093: Pillbugs, Sowbugs, Centipedes, Millipedes, and Earwigs.” Edis.ifas.ufl.edu, 2021, edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/ig093.

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