How to Kill a Centipede & Make a Fashion Statement

Go read this  if you haven’t read my “Earth Hour You can Suck It” post.  It’s an entry that explains my epidemic here.  Not my dilemma … my epidemic.

If you don’t read it, you won’t fully appreciate the severity of my particular situation.  I have bugs.  Not me.  I, personally, do not have bugs on me, my person.  I have bugs in my house.

Horrifying, disgusting, frightening bugs.  They go by the name of  …

The Centipede

Centipede Drawing 2


So’s not to frighten you I drew a reasonable facsimile of a centipede.  This is, I feel, a fairly accurate representation of what I found in the bathroom a few weeks ago.  A  Only I think he had a gun.  And maybe a crossbow.  He definitely spoke Spanish.

A few nights after the bathroom incident, I spied one making his way up the stairs towards the bedrooms.

So, I had no choice but to kill him.  Yeah, he’s a living creature, you’re a Buddhist, blah, blah, blah.  I’m sorry, but he’s in MY house and he’s gross.   So he’s dead.  Yeah, he eats other bugs, he keeps down on the spiders and ants, blah, blah, blah.  I’m sorry but he’s in MY house and he’s gross.  So he’s dead.

I’ve used a bug service in the past, to deal with my recurring centipede problem, plus I’ve also sprayed my house myself.  Since I couldn’t be bothered to wait for an official bug sprayer, and since I wanted to do this at my own pace – immediately – I did it myself.

And so can you.

I’ve use 2 different cans of spray in the past, both with great success.  Raid’s House and Garden and Raid Spider Blaster.   If you’re looking to kill centipedes, or any bugs for that matter, look for a spray that has the highest dose of Pyrethrin.  It’s not only highly effective, but Wikipedia says it’s safe to use around food and animals.    Although I’m not sure about the rest of the stuff in the Raid, so I made sure to lock my cats outside while I sprayed and took precautions myself.   As you will bear witness to later.

How to Spray Your House for Bugs



Get your Pyrethrin filled cans of spray.  It took 3 to do my entire house.



Pull all the furniture away from the walls.  You’re going to need to spray along all your baseboards, so you need access to them.  You will be shocked by the amount of hair and guck that accumulates behind things.  Do not be deterred.  Continue on pulling out your furniture.  No one needs to know about your hair and guck.  Unless you’re me and you have a blog and you show everyone your hair and guck.  Ahem. So to speak.
Cleaning behind furniture

Vacuum the entire house before you spray.  These are my dirty old stairs which have needed carpeting for the past 3 years.





If your house looks any neater than this, you aren’t doing it right.

You need to make a mess to kill a bug.  Pull everything away from the walls, lift the curtains off the floor and vacuum.


Messy Living Room

Spray along all your baseboards, windowsills and door thresholds.  If you have a gnarly basement like I do, spray that too.  Spray the walls of the basement and the floors.  Hard to believe I have centipedes.  Hard to believe I haven’t locked Hansel & Gretel down there.

Basement Stairs


The Raid Spider Blaster had quite the reek to it, so I felt safer with a mask on.  Only I didn’t have a mask.  What I did have was my boyfriend’s underwear.

Spraying for bugs

How this works is the bugs come out through the baseboards at night when it’s dark, they crawl through the killer spray and they die. The Spider Blaster has the added bonus of having a residual effect for a couple of weeks.

3 nights after spraying I found a dead centipede in the bathroom. I hated that centipede and I’m glad he’s dead. Stupid centipede. One night ago, I found a live one. It is my hope he just hadn’t died yet. That happens you see. The bug won’t die until he’s crossed the threshold of poison. Once he does he will wither up and die.

Or … he’ll crawl into an orface while you sleep. Here’s hoping for the first option.


  1. Marcy says:

    My tiny fluffy dog (Pom) is a fearsome millipede hunter. Luckily I haven’t seen any centipedes because those look even creepier. My dog is otherwise useless (his function is to be cute and friendly) but he can smell a millipede a mile away and he goes into hunt and kill mode immediately. Not even his dinner can sway him from his task. I hope if a centipede ever thinks of coming in our house he’ll be able to kill them too!

  2. Diana says:

    I encountered my first two centipedes of the season this week (in Boston, so they shall be your way very soon) and had to look up the spray you used. Shall be vacuuming and spraying this weekend. This is what we get for having a mild winter!

    Oh, and I’m not sure if your cats are handy like this, but mine are excellent ‘pede spotters. They will be all comfy at the foot of the chaise while I’m engrossed in “Survivor” or something and out of nowhere sprint over to the other side of the room, stop, and stare at seemingly nothing. It is always a centipede.

  3. Meghan says:

    I stumbled on your blog awhile ago and was flipping through posts when I came across this and had to laugh. THAT WAS ME for the last 4 years!!! My old house was infested with the things and I am PETRIFIED of them! They are SOOOOO fast and when you kill them their legs fly off but the body keeps moving! (shudder!). It was so bad that I finally had it and we moved (that and the house was too small. The last straw was when I went into my newborns room at night and there were 3 of them on the wall next to the change table where I was changing a diaper. I SWEAR they were trying to eat my daughter! (Maybe I’m a little dramatic as my husband says but the ‘freaky freaky bugs'(as I labelled them) are nasty!)

  4. Jodi says:

    It’s a good thing I’m at work by myself today. I totally was NOT expecting underwear on your face… Huh-LARIOUS :) Good luck with the bugs.

  5. Dina says:

    I recently came across your website and LOVE your stuff! I just thought I would give you a heads up… a friend recently told me that Permethrin is actually toxic for cats. Good thing you put your cats outside.

  6. julie s says:

    A friend of mine had a problem with centipedes in her apartment. She would spray them with hairspray. After dousing a particularly large one with half of a can of spray, she dropped a textbook on it, just for good measure.

    She swears the textbook moved. I never believed her — until now.

  7. Kim says:

    I think those stairs are ready to go for sanding and painting! Forget the carpet and pull those nails out and work your magic. You can wear the underwear mask when sanding also.

  8. Kharina says:

    I put undies on my head too, but I pretend to be a luchador or Spiderman.

  9. Sheri says:

    This is a very disturbing post. I do find your sketch to be quite accurate. We have “palmetto bugs” here, which is a euphemism for cockroaches. You don’t have to be filthy to have them; they are everywhere. You can hear their scritchy-scratchy scritchy-scratchy in the night, and you turn on the light, and wake your man up because you can’t stand the ‘crunch’ they make when you squash them. But then you can’t find them, and you don’t want to turn off the light because they will crawl in bed with you and across your face. Plus they FLY. God help you if you have to squash one when He isn’t home because I won’t pick it up. I just leave the shoe there.

  10. Heather says:

    Man, I’m laughing too hard at that pic of you with the underwear on your head!
    Also, yay, I’m not the only one with a scary basement with super steep, rickety looking stairs!

  11. rachel says:

    Baaaaaaahahahahahahaaaaaa!!!!!!!! the underwear!!

  12. Olga says:

    Haha were those underwear out of the drawer?

    I hate those bastards. And I’m not sure if they really eat any other bugs, I happened to have all kind of creatures crawling all over the place. I hate that those dumb bugs don’t respect my privacy whatsoever. I already have given up my yard to them, and to the frogs, and to the whole army of rabbits and squirrels that ate all my fruit of the fruit trees, and now I can’t keep up with all the bugs in the house. I swear, once I spray the house with the bug spray, it doubles the amount of all kind of bugs in the house, some that I have never seen before. Some that might have not been even discovered yet by anyone! lol I think they coming out from every hole and crack just to die and front of me and make me feel guilty. The worst thing of all were the two tarantulas that we found in the house. Sick!

  13. Nan Tovar says:

    ‘my boyfriend’s undies’ cracked me up! Thanks for putting me in a good mood to go slave away at the job.

  14. marilyn says:

    ok that is totally hilarious. that is something i would do, wear my husbands tightie whities as a mask. please tell me you either washed them or threw them out after, i hate to think what raid would do to his nether regions lol

  15. Rhonda N. says:

    THAT’S the one you should name Tuco. That centipede you drew.

    You should see the wood/water roaches we get here in TX. (In Alabama, they call them Palmetto Bugs, which sounds too much like they do lunch and wear Lilly Pulitzer.) They are huge – like 2 inches. They’re stupid. And they sometimes FLY! At least they don’t bite or sting. But they are so gross when you squish them; big bugs = lots of nasty, gritty guts.

    (You can get them even if you are hygienic. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

  16. Karen says:

    Laughing my A** off here in MN. I can honestly say I have never thought of using my husbands underwear for that. I have used them as dust rags.

    • Karen says:

      Karen! I’m Karen! We’re both Karen! Shocking. I tend to use socks as dust rags. Work great. Just slip ’em on like a sock puppet and get to work! :) ~ karen

  17. Sierra says:

    Centipedes are, indeed, gross. However, our issue is SCORPIONS, and I would trade you for a centipede any day of the week. Creepy crawly disgusting mother f*****rs in the bathtub, on the walls, in the hamper. Shudder. However, chickens love them as a tasty snack…

  18. Beevil says:

    Want another reason to hate them? If your cat eats one (just for fun, cuz cats are crazy like that), it might kill her or knock her unconcious. & even if she vomits it up, & you rush her to the vet, it’ll cost you hundreds to find out she’s ok after vomiting… (yes, I’m talking about you Pema).
    But I.m NOT scared of them — I kill them for my cat’s sake – with bare fingers or feet !!!!! hahahahahah

  19. Susan says:

    You have my deepest sympathy. I hate bugs. and slugs. But I ADORE your writing and McGiverness – the underwear! PRICELESS!!

  20. Larita says:

    I’m alternately gagging at the centipede stories in the comments and giggling hysterically at the image of you with underwear on your head. Those little beasts are so wretched. One of the good things about living way up north in the frozen boonies is that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a centipede (or earwig, which are just as yucky) here. I used to live in the Midwest US in an old farmhouse with a dank old basement like yours, as well as in West Africa. I have, on multiple occasions, woken up with one of those wretched beasts crawling across me *insert gagging and shuddering* I will probably be dreaming about that tonight.

  21. I would have killed him, too–and all his little friends and step-cousins. Your post makes me think of last year when we discovered mice in the kitchen. Off we went to Lowe’s for traps. The cashier looked at the traps–looked at us–back at the traps–back at us. Then said “but this will kill them”. Uhhh, yeah. That’s the general idea. Apparently, she thought we should name them and fix up the guest room.

  22. AnnW says:

    I laughed so hard I almost wet my pants – my own, not my husbands. That is the best picture I have seen this year. Suggestion: get a contract from an exterminator. Have him come every month or second month. He will use centipede specific chemicals. Some of them have spray that won’t make you sick. OR you could call that Billy the Exterminator crazy guy on TV that is on the Discovery, or Lifetime, or History channel. He won’t use undies on his face. He will wrassle them to the ground, and might eat them.

    • Karen says:

      AnnW – Billy frightens me. Well … his fashion sense does anyway. The reason I sprayed myself this time as opposed to using an exterminator is because it is such a HUGE hassle for them to come. I just had them out last fall! If I can, I prefer to do it on my own time. For others wanting to do this, you can actually go to your pest control company and they’ll give you the chemical you need for your specific bug! I’ve done that too. I’ve done it all. :) ~ karen

  23. julie says:

    Ah HAH! I see those riding boots! Do you ride? How? Where? When? Cause, you see, I RIDE, and though I love hearing about the awful bugs,the chicken coop [hey, I have chicks, too], etc., boy, I’d love a blog or two or daily about your riding adventures. Or at least every other day, interspersed with chick info. Well, I do love your recipes. And projects. Ok, how about at least one riding blog a month?

    • Karen says:

      Julie – I do ride. Kittens mainly, but sometimes I venture into pig territory. Heh. Those are indeed my old field boots. I haven’t had a horse for years. I rode and showed English. Hunter, Dressage, 3 Day eventing. That sort of thing. So I don’t have too many recent riding stories. I”ll see if I can change that. ~ karen!

  24. Linda says:

    I can’t believe you used undies!

  25. Karen, I have definitely slept with cotton balls in my ears because I am so afraid of a bug crawling in there and setting up shop. Not on my watch, buddy!
    We get the occasional centipede and I literally shiver and shake even after its dead. I HATE BUGS IN MY HOME!!!

  26. Liz S. says:

    I had to put my hand over my mouth to keep from busting out laughing at work. The undies pic is just great!

    We’ve been using Borax for years for bugs. I used a mixture recently of Borax and powdered sugar. I places lids of drink bottles around the kitchen counter with the mixture. The ants smell/taste the sweet sugar. The sugar masks the Borax. So part of the ants carry sugar back to the colony and part carry Borax. The ants eat the Borax and die. Once my counter was cleared of the pesky creatures, I put down a barrier of Borax all around the outside of my house and garage. I’ve also set out more of the lids full of Borax in places my son can’t reach.

  27. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

    In my house, spiders, bees, the occasional bat, they all get caught by me and thrown outside, this action eliminates my feelings of guilt. But the poor centipede… I have the same reaction as you to them. They do not get the royal treatment of capture-and-outdoor-release, they get the shoe. Guilt or not, I just can’t help it. (My basement looks just like yours, it was built in 1901 with the finest rocks in the land.)

  28. Britt says:

    ICK!! I can usually do bugs outside, but not in my house… I had massive ants last summer in my kitchen… like so big I caught one fixing itself a sandwich… I did the exact same thing you did… RAID’ed the hell out of everything… inside, outside… there was no way I was going to live with those things… and the thought of them crawling into my orifices while I sleep… blech! *shudder dance*

  29. Roxanne says:

    Firstly, I *love* your blog. You make me laugh. A lot. I wish you didn’t live so far away, like, in another country.

    Your next (big) project should be that basement. That is definitely Creepy Crawly Country.

    BTW: Loved that you found such a great place for your Rooster — and that you took pictures. Wonderful.

    Roxanne in PA, USA

  30. Babie Knoop says:

    OMG! You are hilarious! I LOVE your blog and it is now a morning ritual! Right along with the “The Good Greatsby”
    I’m pretty sure we would have been best friends if we had known each other in the real world or met in high school! LOLOL Although I do not think we’d have gotten much done due to laughing to much! B

  31. amber says:

    I actually did have a centipede crawl in my ear when I was sleeping!!! it was horrific! My husband and i were sleeping in bed and suddenly i felt a massive tickling in my ear and i could hear something moving around (kind of like when you clean out your ears with a q-tip). I sat straight up in bed, grabbed my ear and bolted to the bathroom. I flushed my ear out with water and looked in the mirror and there was a centipede LAYING ON MY FACE! I quickly brushed it off my face onto the floor and punched that thing into smithereens! No kidding! I had goosebumps for 15 minutes! And i could only fall asleep with earplugs for a while!

  32. Susan Perry says:

    I hope you did not simply fold your roomie’s undies and return them to his drawer. I would have some concerns about the residual Raid overspray and proximity to the family jewels…

  33. beth says:

    Is that centipede flipping me off?
    I love your blog. It makes me laugh.

  34. Dani says:

    Oh god, we used to call those things Kingston bugs when I was at school. Used to crawl out of the bathroom drain and you could NOT drown the damn things. So utterly creeeeeeeepy. I don’t like anything that moves faster than I do. These are right up there with earwigs.

  35. sue says:

    OMG, this must be the summer of bugs! My 3 kitties and I are having the lovely experience of FLEAS in the house! Plus, because of the fleas, they had worms, yuck!I love nature, but there are some low rent cousins lurking. Spraying does require proper breathing protection and as usual, you are all about safety and our education and I thank you!

  36. Stacy says:

    You have a follower for life in me. You did the impossible…made me laugh out loud at 7:00 am!

  37. B.J.M says:

    While staying with an Aunt years ago; I came home after working a 12hr night shift [nurse] and just wanted to rinse-off my face before I fell into bed. As I leaned over the sink, in her older home….this massive, long, far too many legged, pale coloured thing [exactly as your artist’ sketch] came up out of the drain. I screamed, then threw-up on it! Dead bug.
    He/she/”IT” deserved it.

    • Karen says:

      Brenda – LOL … oh no … that is a visual I’m going to have for quite some time. And perhaps every time I see a centipede. :) ~ karen

  38. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, plaster over those basement walls. Do it for me.

    My duplex neighbors get centipedes, but my house of poison does not. Home Defense is my drug of choice so I have only seen one outside, and even outside I hosed him down and watched him die. I’m going to pray for you or something. Shuddering.

  39. Design Love says:

    Oh, and you know what else is gross…when their legs,(all 5000 of them) keep moving when you squish one! Yes, this weather must make it worse!!! Your soup sounds delish!!!


  40. Design Love says:

    Omg, I thought I was the only one!!!! I hate those disgusting things…I kill them all the time , they are fast too! Just the other night, I got up and slipped on one killing it, my foot felt wet, so I turned on a light and just about freaked out!!! Your picture you drew it bang on…. I’m going to go out and buy some RAID tomorrow. It must be our old farmhouses with the gross basements.


    • Karen says:

      Cindy – I think it’s a combination of the basements and the horrid humid weather we’ve been having for the past bazillion months. Ooo! Bazillion reminded me of my Brazilian Black Bean Soup recipe. Think I’ll make it for dinner one night this week! ~ karen

  41. Liza says:

    Btw, I had to pin that photo of the undies on your head! Pinterest will never be the same. lol

  42. Liza says:

    Luckily I’ve moved since then! I’ve only seen one in my house now, thank God. I cannot even take my eyes off of one long enough to find bug spray. I pick up the closest hard object and smash those suckers. I’m afraid if I walk away, it will be gone when I come back with the spray. lol

  43. Liza says:

    I think I just woke my neighbors up laughing so hard at the undies pic! LMAO. You really do crack me up. Safety first, most definitely. I posted on your FB comment. I had a centipede sting my face, in the middle of the night, a few years ago. Those bugs have traumatized me for life. Take them all out before one gets you too!! :)

    • Karen says:

      Liza – I read your FB comment and just about died. I don’t think I’d ever sleep again. I’d be using toothpicks to hold my eyelids open, cartoon-style. You’re a very brave soul! ~ karen

  44. Valerie says:

    Here in B.C. in the spring and fall we are afflicted with “stink bugs” as well as centipedes. The one product that terminates everything is, aptly named, Doctor Doom. If you run out of the Raid product you may appreciate this alternative. When I was a poor student and had little critters in my bathroom around my baseboards I sprinkled cleanser next to the boards and this was quite effective in keeping them at bay. According to DIY sites that create products to clean your house as well as suggestions to deal with bugs I have noticed that it is now trendy to use borax, which as it turns out was the main ingredient in the cleanser.

  45. Audrey says:

    I hate house centipedes. They are drawn to humid locations, like basement level apartments and bathrooms. Looking at your basement, I think you are going to be dealing with them for a long time.

  46. Jamieson says:

    PS gotch over your face? Really? Your mom must be so proud of you, you weirdo!

  47. Jamieson says:

    I too found a centipede: in between my pillows last night. It’s likely that it was merely on a solo expedition and when it doesn’t return to the colony somewhere miles from my home*, the others will be too afraid to come inside. Plausible theory? I think we are on the same page here.

    *because of course I killed the centipede in a centisecond, careening between a controlled panic and the need to be discrete so my husband doesn’t wake me hourly for the next 2 years asking “is there another bug in the bed??!”

  48. Debbie A says:

    I hope they all die for you – yuk they are so gross – they give me the willies.

    You made me giggle with the boyfriends underwear.

    You are so innovative.

    Thanks for the giggles and being so honest with the dust bunnies!!!


  49. Trysha says:

    No wonder every photo you post of him he’s almost nekkid, his undies are on your head.

    Death to creepy crawly bugs. *shudder*

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