What Smell Do Centipedes Hate? (5 Top Scents)

We can all agree that there’s joy in chilling in your living room, enjoying a peaceful evening while sipping your hot cup of coffee or chocolate.

However, there’s one culprit that can destroy your mood and send shivers down your spine; the Centipede.

Featuring a long, segmented body and over 100 legs, centipedes are arguably the scariest member of the insect family. They are fast and agile and often trigger a fear response in people with a phobia of bugs.

Centipedes can also multiply quickly. And before you know it, you might have multiple creepy crawlers scurrying across your floor and wall (particularly at night).

Even worse, they can also bite, delivering a powerful venom that stinks and might cause several reactions throughout the body.

Fortunately, there’s an effective way to rid your house of these long-legged invaders. You simply need to use smell-based repellents.

Keep reading and learn which scents repel centipedes effectively to keep your home bug-free.

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What Attracts Centipedes in Your Home?

House centipedes (Scutigeromorpha) love moist areas and often seek out environments with high humidity. Therefore,  basements, bathrooms, cellars, and crawl spaces provide an ideal habitat for these creepy crawlies.

Additionally, leaky pipes, faulty plumbing, and insufficient ventilation can create the ideal conditions for centipedes to thrive.

Besides moisture, these creatures have an insatiable appetite for a range of insects. They feed on spiders, moths, silverfish, termites, flies, cockroaches, etc. So, if your home houses these pests, don’t be surprised if centipedes take residence within your walls.

But wait, there’s more. Centipedes might move into your home for shelter, particularly when the weather grows cold. They might find solace in stacks of firewood or neglected spaces filled with boxes or cardboard, where they can hide and multiply unnoticed.

Signs of Centipedes Infestation in Your Home

1. Unexplained Bites

One primary sign of a centipede infestation is unexplained bites on your hands or feet. These bites are itchy and painful and leave tiny red marks.

2. Multiple Centipedes Sightings

If you come across many centipedes in your home or garden, you should be alarmed as it indicates an infestation of centipedes. Centipedes are typically nocturnal creatures, so spotting them during the day shows they have multiplied.

3. Shed Exoskeletons

As centipedes grow, they shed their exoskeleton (a process called “molting”. So, if you find discarded exoskeletons in dark, damp areas or corners, chances are you’re dealing with an infestation.

4. Presence of Droppings

Another obvious sign of centipede infestation is dark-colored dropping (like small pellets). You might notice these fecal droppings where centipedes frequent, like in corners, along baseboards, or in bathrooms.

5. Damage to Plants

Centipedes often feed on insects and other small prey, but they may also target your house or garden plants. For instance, centipedes might feed on roots of lettuce, radish, and asparagus, stunting growth and reducing crop yield.

6. Numerous bugs

Centipedes are veracious predators and will venture anywhere their prey thrives. If you see several bugs in your house, including spiders and cockroaches, expect these predators too.

7. Moist, Dark Areas with Clutter

As said earlier, these unwelcomed guests thrive in damp and dark environments. So, if you have dark, moist spaces like basements, closets, and bathrooms, most likely there will be a centipede or two there.

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Natural Smells That Repel Centipedes

Sure, there are many commercial centipede repellents on the market. But if you are a naturalist through and through, resort to these toxic-free, natural smell-based repellents.

1. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper 1

The fiery properties of cayenne pepper make it unappealing to centipedes. As a result, homeowners can use them to deter these arthropods from entering their living spaces. Sprinkle small amounts of cayenne pepper in areas often visited by centipedes, such as entryways, cracks, crevices, and along exterior window ledges.

The overpowering smell of this spice will disrupt centipedes’ sensory perceptions, forcing them to flee. Experts also recommend using the smell of peppermint to repel centipedes.

2. Garlic

Crushed garlic is another effective centipede repellent. The pungent but potent smell of garlic creates a barrier that most insects can’t cross. And centipedes are no different.

The scent of garlic is faint enough that humans cannot detect it. But insects like centipedes find it irritating and disorientating. As a result, they often keep a distance.

You can use garlic in several ways to repel these pests. For instance, you can drop 4-6 crushed garlic cloves into 2 quarters of hot water. Next, let it cool for 15- 20 minutes, then transfer it to a spray bottle.

After that, apply the mixture to floorboards, corners, and other areas with centipede activities. To take things a notch higher, add some hot pepper to the mixtures.

3. Cinnamon

The benefits of cinnamon extend past being an excellent flavor addition for cakes, cookies, and other foods.

Gardeners use this amazing spice to kill fungus and keep destructive pests like centipedes away. Most insects don’t like the smell of cinnamon powder. So, if you scatter the powders in their path, it will prevent them from coming back, but it won’t kill them.

4. Mint

Another effective natural centipede deterrent is mint. Popular in teas and salad, the fragrance of some mint plants, like spearmint, doesn’t sit well with centipedes.

Because of this, you can use mint to keep your home and garden centipede free. Interestingly, planting mint plants around your backyard and garden can help deter small rodents like moles and raccoons.

For centipede control, create a mint spray of peppermint or spearmint essential oil with water.

You can also boil dried mint leaves in water and add lavender for maximum effectiveness. Let the solution cool down before straining it and putting it in a spray bottle. Shake well before using the repellant.

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5. Essential Oils

Essential Oils 1

Image Credit: tammy_prario

Probably you have heard people using eucalyptus oil to control pests in their homes like flies and spiders. But did you know this oil also works against centipedes?

These pests might have a tough exoskeleton, but they can’t withstand the smell of eucalyptus oil. Like most essential oils, eucalyptus oils contain a unique aroma that most bugs find repelling.

So, you can add them to a steam diffuser to keep away centipedes while keeping your living spaces smelling fresh.

And on top of that, this oil acts as an antiseptic and decongestant.

Other effective essential oils worth checking out include:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Lavender
  • Citronella
  • Peppermint oil

Home Remedies for Centipedes Repellant Smell

It’s no secret that smell-based centipede repellants are effective against centipedes. But if you’ve tried them and see no result, it’s time for these remedies:

1. Diatomaceous Earth

First on our list is diatomaceous earth, a naturally occurring material consisting of fossilized remains of small aquatic creatures.

When observed under a microscope, diatomaceous powder features sharp edges. These microscopic jagged edges can pierce through the hard centipede exoskeleton and draw water, oils, and fats.  In simple terms, the powder kills centipedes by dehydrating them.

Strategically sprinkle diatomaceous earth on cracks, corners, and door thresholds and leave it for a few days.  Later, vacuum your home to remove the dead centipedes.

2. Vinegar

Centipedes are not uncommon in places with high humidity, like kitchen drains, cabinets, or bathrooms.

Fortunately, you can keep them out by pouring a cup of vinegar down the drain. Some people mix bleach with vinegar for maximum effects. But avoid this at all costs because a mixture of vinegar and bleach releases toxic chlorine gas.

3. Boric Acid

Last but not least, we have boric acid. This water-soluble compound makes centipede control a breeze. Just sprinkle the white powder in basements, windowsills, crawl spaces, and closets.

But take caution when using this powder. If carelessly handles, boric acid can burn your skin. Therefore, we recommend using gloves during the application.

6 Additional Ways to Deter Centipedes from Your Homestead

6 Additional Ways to Deter Centipedes from Your Homestead 1

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1. Maintain a Tidy environment

Perhaps the best to keep centipedes away from your home is to eliminate clutter and remove debris from your house. Clutter and debris offer centipedes hiding spots, where they can breed and multiply.

It is also wise to reduce potential food sources. In this case, remove bugs present in your house like spiders, fruit flies, and cockroaches. Without food, centipedes will relocate to other places offering greener pastures (metaphorically).

2. Seal entry points

After cleaning your house and eliminating food sources, it’s time to identify potential entry points. Inspect your home for cracks, holes, or gaps that centipedes might use to get in. After that, seal the access points with caulk.

3. Reduce moisture

Centipedes thrive in areas with moisture or standing water, so it’s crucial to address this issue. Remove any water from the exterior and interior of your house.

Check your foundation for standing water caused by leaking pipes or clogged low-point drains. Pump out the water and fix leaking pipes and unclog the drains to keep centipedes and other pests like termites away.

4. Install dehumidifiers and fans

Another effective way to deter centipedes is to run a dehumidifier. Centipedes depend on moisture to lay eggs. So, using a dehumidifier during summer and spring can help remove excess humidity indoors, making your home less appealing to these crawling pests.

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5. Install screens and door sweeps

If you have an opening above your door and windows, it’s time to install some screens. Otherwise, centipedes will use these openings as an entry point. Don’t forget to block spaces at the bottom of your door with door sweeps.

6. Professional Exterminator

If all the above measures fail, you might have to contact a pest exterminator. Exterminators will assess your centipede infestation situation and help with pest removal. They will also suggest the best solutions to prevent future infestations.

In addition, ensure you carry out routine inspections of your home’s interior and exterior. This way, you can identify centipede activities beforehand and avoid dealing with an infestation.


Centipedes are not the best pests to have around (it’s not like there are any in the first place). Truthfully, they look like something from Jurassic Park.

Besides their scary look, centipedes are venomous and can leave you with painful and itchy bite marks.

On the bright side, they help keep other insects and pests away from your home.

But since we are overlooking that fact, it’s essential to know how to identify centipedes before an infestation. Luckily, you now know the tale-tell signs of these unwelcomed visitors and how to keep them away from your home.

Dear, go forth and reclaim your domain. Don’t let a few multi-legged creatures destroy your d enjoy a peaceful sanctuary!

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