Saturday, June 20, 2009

Who Invited This Dude To The Housewarming Party?

Ah, the joys of home ownership...

Backyard, gardening, butterflies, deck, birds, barbecue and this:

Photo downloaded from Wikipedia (Released to the public domain by author)

"What is that creepy-looking thing Water Roots lady?"
Why, it’s a house centipede my blogging friend.
"And how does it make you feel?..."

Until very recently, I was in my happy space, completely unaware that there’s such a thing as a house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata) that (usually) lives, as its name implies, inside human homes. Well, at least in colder regions like Canada.

How’s that for a kick in the head?

I’d also never seen one indoors either. Until about a week ago. In my new home. First in the living room. Then in the kitchen. (I’m hoping real hard that it’s the same critter).

Furthermore, I’d never witnessed anything so small move so fast, which explains why I uploaded a picture I found on Wikipedia rather than one taken from my own camera, of my own multi-legged houseguest. I barely had enough time to think about snapping a photo, never mind actually doing it.


When I saw this little beast dart across my kitchen floor at an incredibly high speed, I was amazed. Wow, can this thing move! It was quite impressive, I tell you, albeit a little alarming. And after doing some research, I learned that it’s not my imagination (or fear); these centipedes really do move fast. They can reach speeds of up to 406 mm (16.0 in) per second (0.9 mph/1.46 kph). And they can do this across floors, along ceilings and up walls. (Can you imagine looking up at the ceiling when you wake up in the morning and having this thing over your head?)

My first reaction when I saw this creepy crawler was to run out of the house screaming. But my husband grabbed me before I got out the door, shook me and said “Get a hold of yourself woman!” Slap, slap. “These things are our friends”

Our friends? (Looks like hubby’s been hitting the bottle...)

After some research on the internet, though, I found out he’s right. Damn it.

As hideous-looking as house centipedes are, they are very beneficial inside a home. They feed on flies, moths, crickets, termites, earwigs, spiders, cockroaches, bedbugs, silverfish, ants and numerous other household arthropods and their larvae. They are a natural, non-toxic form of pest control, helping to rid your home of unwanted flying, crawling, slithering guests.

So that’s kind of cool.

I should have stopped there (it was enough data), but I didn’t. And I ran across this:

“...are known to sometimes emerge from drain pipes...” (Now can I run out of the house screaming?)

There is a thing called too much information.


  1. It's good to know they are friendly critters. We did have one in the bath a couple of weeks ago and it probably came out of the drain!! Thanks for some good information.

  2. Crafty Gardener, I was also happy to find out that it's a friendly, beneficial critter. There’s no doubt that it’s a little intimidating (its appearance and the way it moves so quickly), but at least it won’t get into our food like cockroaches and ants and other disturbing pests. Rather, it’ll clean up those horrible pests.

    I still get the urge to run out of the house screaming when I spot one of these things, but it passes :)

  3. Dear God! I don't care if it's beneficial, that is horrendous! Can't it be beneficial somewhere else? This is where I think my lucky stars that I have three cats and they are a much less freaky form of pest control. They will chase and eat anything that moves. Mind you I'm not at all sanguine when it comes to ugly critters. :)

  4. Tatiana, you are right. They are really creepy-looking. I'm acting all brave and stuff here on my blog but I don't feel that way when I come face to face with these things. Literally face to face. Apparently, they have well-developed, faceted eyes. “The better to see you with, my dear”

    Still. I would rather see one of these things than a millipede. Now that’s a horror-inducing critter. Nothing can stop me from running out of the house screaming when I spot one of those creepy crawlers.