Occasional House Centipedes in old Homes

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I recently received a text note from one of my longer term tenants that the black bugs are back.  She sent over a picture of a house centipede that were able to catch and before I get into a conversation with her about it, I wanted to see if there is any required action on my part to remove them.

All in all, these are semi-standard house hold bugs, I have seen them when I lived in that building as well as up the street where I live now.  And they are harmless to people and actually only eat other bugs.  But they are definitely creepy and can make you jump when you occasionally see one in the spring or fall.  In my personal home, we eventually got a quarterly bug spray from Terminix (originally for an ant problem, but it took care of both).  I view it as a personal choice to get that for this kind of pest, but I want to make sure I understand my landlord responsibility before we discuss it.

Any experience with this conversation?

Last summer we saw a few of those in our house.  Then we saw more.  After a while, we were seeing over a dozen a day.  It was driving my wife crazy.

Long story short, I had fallen behind on my outdoor chores and hadn't cleaned the gutters in much too long.  The gutters were full of old pine straw and a few leaves.  As I soon discovered with a search on the internet, pedes love old plant matter to live in and eat.  

Immediately, I took out the ladder and headed roofward to clean the gutters.  I was stunned to see so many pedes crawling on our roof and in the gutter.  At first it was hard to see them because they are mostly black and our shingles are black, but as I looked closer I saw hundreds of the things, mostly on one half of one side of our roof.  I thoroughly cleaned all the gutters.  Voila, just like magic the pedes problem in our house basically disappeared overnight.

That reminds me, I need to clean the gutters this week.

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It depends on your lease and state law. My lease states that’s the unit has been delivered pest free and after ten days any pests seen are the tenants responsibility to deal with. This is largely based on the idea that any mice, insects or whatever are attracted to something the tenant is doing (leaving out food or crumbs) and therefor after an initial period it’s their problem.

Without anything in the lease it should default to your states laws which may say nothing about it or have some very strict guidelines you need to follow.

If it was me I might go ahead and have it sprayed. Assuming the cost isn’t ridiculous and it does the job.

As far as the conversation goes it depends on whether you are going to deal with it or not. If not I would say “I get those centipedes at my place to. We have terminex come out to take care of it. It’s cost X dollars. Here is their contact info if you decide you want to get it done.”

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