Centipedes are predatory carnivores. Even though some of them occasionally eat fruits, vegetables, and young plants, centipedes are not really considered garden pests. They don’t cause enough damage to be labeled as such. However, you still don’t want centipedes to get too comfortable in your garden — although centipede bites are rare they are venomous. There are things that attract centipedes to your garden. If you are aware of them, you can limit them and prevent them from attracting these arthropods.
Things that attract centipedes
Centipedes are carnivorous animals that feed on insects. They can prey on cockroaches, crickets, flies, and other insects that you often see in a garden. Unfortunately, your garden will naturally attract different kinds of insects, and these insects will then attract centipedes that will try to hunt them down. It’s the circle of life.
However, there is still some aspect you can control. You can limit the number of insects thriving and going in and out of your garden. You can do this by regularly bombing your garden with insecticides. But this can have its disadvantage too. It can kill insects that can be beneficial to your garden.
Centipedes are opportunistic feeders. There are even times when they will feed on their fellow centipedes. This also means that they are not very picky when it comes to hunting for prey. They can hunt not just insects, but also arachnids like spiders.
Get rid of the spiders in your garden and you will also prevent centipedes from thriving too well in there. Like insects, you can get rid of spiders with commercial products like pesticides. And also like insects, this can be a disadvantage. Spiders are great predators. They can help naturally control the population of other garden pests, such as aphids, beetles, flies, and even wasps.
If you don’t have spiders in your garden, these garden pests may start thriving because of the lack of predators. Yes, you won’t have centipedes, but you will have other problems that can be more destructive.
3. Accessible garbage cans attract centipedes
Garbage cans are a haven of resources. Drink residue and leftovers in garbage cans are enough to sustain small animals like insects. This is why accessible garbage cans almost always have ants, flies, and other foragers and scavengers. Unfortunately, these small animals are part of the centipede diet. Naturally, garbage cans with ants, flies, and others are going to attract centipedes. And these centipedes can then go to your garden to thrive.
Avoid attracting these multi-legged hunters by cleaning your garbage cans regularly and making sure they have their lids down, so their contents are not easily accessible to small animals that can become centipede prey.
4. Light sources
Have you ever wondered why your light source seems to be attracting flying ants and other insects? This is because some insects use natural light such as that from the moon and stars to navigate. They confuse the artificial light from your bug zappers and lamps with natural light, so they seem to be “attracted” to them.
Light sources are going to attract insects, and these insects are going to attract centipedes. Limit the light you have in your home’s exterior to prevent this from happening.
Just like you, centipedes need water to survive. They need to hydrate themselves. They are also vulnerable to dryness because they have body parts that require moisture to continue functioning effectively, such as their spiracles that they need to breathe. Many of the insects they prey on also thrive in moist environments simply because they also need water to sustain themselves.
In short, centipedes are attracted to the moisture of your garden. You can’t really completely get rid of moisture in your garden because your greens need water to survive too. But you can avoid overwatering your greens to avoid too much dampness in your garden. Also, make sure that you have a proper drainage system, so the water actually goes somewhere and does not get stuck in your garden. Stagnant water can attract various pests, including mosquitoes.
6. Drainage problems
Moisture doesn’t just come from the water you use to water your greens. It can also come from the sky (rain) and how you dispose of it. If you have clogged gutters and drains, rainwater can get stuck on your property and provide a moist environment for centipedes to thrive.
Any kind of drainage issue can give you a centipede problem. The issue can be broken pipes, leaky faucets, poorly sealed garden hoses, or unattended sprinklers. They are all the same – they are making your property moist and ripe for a centipede infestation. You can fix most of these issues yourself. But if you think they are too complicated, you can always hire a plumber to fix them for you.
7. Clutter and debris
Clutter and debris are some of the things that attract centipedes to your garden. Of course, like other animals, centipedes need more than just food and water to survive. They also need shelter, and clutter and debris provide the perfect spots for them to hide and protect themselves from the elements.
As nocturnal creatures, centipedes like to get comfortable in damp and dark places during the day. They can stay in compost piles, leaf litter, mulch, rocks, woodpiles, and in the root of plants near the soil. You can’t really completely get rid of these things as they are inherent parts of your garden. However, you can keep your garden neat and tidy by removing all unnecessary objects in it, such as the grass clippings scattered everywhere and old rotting logs that you have overlooked long enough.
8. Ornaments can attract centipedes to your garden
Garden ornaments are basically just clutter and debris. The difference is that you actually want them there and you try to maintain them. But this doesn’t change the fact that they are some of the things that attract centipedes to your garden because of how they provide shelter.
Bird baths, fountains, rock formations, logs, and other garden ornaments are perfect hiding spots for centipedes. Some of them even have water in them, providing sustenance to centipedes and keeping them moist. This makes them even bigger liabilities. If you want to keep them since they are part of your garden’s aesthetics, make sure to maintain them well and disturb them from time to time, so they don’t become serene spots where pests can rest.