multiple centipes visible in a cross section of soil

Centipedes: how to recognise damage?

Centipede damage is not instantly recognisable because centipedes eat the roots of your plants. They favour young plants. This damage to the roots stunts growth and reduces the crop yield. It also gives bacteria and fungi the chance to take hold in the damaged roots.

How to prevent (further) damage?

Are you not sure if your plants have been infested with centipedes? Then place your potting compost in a bucket of water. If you have centipedes, they will float to the surface and are easy to remove. You can also steam the soil to prevent the centipedes from spreading. Steaming from beneath stops the insects from going deeper into the soil.

About centipedes

Centipedes live in tunnels and cavities in the soil. They cannot make their own tunnels but use existing ones. An adult centipede has 12 pairs of legs and is 6 to 10 millimetres long. Centipedes feed on dead plant material, yeasts, fungi, manure and soil. However, to reproduce they need to eat fresh plant material.
a close up of centipedes and their eggs in the soil
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