What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

PLEASE IDENTIFY THIS DISGUSTING BUG FROM PITTSBURGH
Mon, Jun 1, 2009 at 8:58 PM
Help Bugman!!!
This type of bug has appeared 3-4 times in our house in the past 1-3 weeks.
Tonight I had to take a picture of it after we killed it.
It’s got to be poisonous, it’s terrrrible looking.
It’s got like 6 or 10 legs and it is just uggggly.
We live right near a ‘forest’ and honestly, JUST now, my roomate discovered another one as I’m typing.
Help! PLEASE!!!
What should we tell our exterminator!!!
What should we buy to protect ourselves
Thank you so much
Henry
Pittsburgh, PA, in basement 2bedroom living quarter

House Centipede Smashed

House Centipede Smashed

Unnecessary Carnage?
Mon, Jun 1, 2009 at 6:29 PM
First, I must say there are some great pictures on your site. I scrolled through everything to try to find an answer, but I don’t even know what category this fits into. You may be able to tell that this bug was squished, so I’ll give you details the picture might not show. It’s just over an inch long and its antennae were quite long (almost as long as the body?) Unfortunately I can’t tell whether it has legs or not, but its underbelly appears to have several tiny ridges. The 3 vertical stripes are quite distinctive. I live in Windsor, ON (directly across the border from Detroit) and found it in my bedroom this evening. We’ve had some water damage in the house and also have carpenter ants (which I confirmed from several pictures here – thanks!). As well it has been humid here lately, so I’m not sure if that’s a factor.
Any insight you could provide would be appreciated.
Many thanks, Cheryl
Windsor, ON

House Centipede Extinguished

House Centipede Extinguished

Whoops! Cancel that email!
Mon, Jun 1, 2009 at 8:07 PM
Sent you an email earlier tonight entitled “Unnecessary Carnage?” and have discovered, to my embarrassment, that it is in fact a house centipede. I moved so quickly to kill the poor bugger that I didn’t see all of the legs (and wasn’t about to pick its corpse apart to investigate).
I’ve bookmarked your site so I can identify the next critter that makes itself known! 😉
Many thanks (again), Cheryl
Windsor, ON

Dear Henry and Cheryl,
You have both unnecessarily exterminated a harmless House Centipede. They do look frightening, and though they have venom, the venom is harmless to humans in the extremely unlikely scenario that they might bite someone. You are far better off having House Centipedes patrolling your homes at night, dispatching Bed Bugs whose populations are on the rise, than you would be getting bitten by the Bed Bugs. No exterminators are necessary.

Unnecessary Carnage Update
September 18, 2009
My Unnecessary Carnage 🙁
I just found your website while researching the bug that I have squished (although not confirmed). I was sitting in my darkened living room in the wee hours of the night and caught some rapid movement from the corner of my eye. I quickly turned on a light and settled back on the sofa. Perhaps five minutes later I saw a large bug on my ceiling, which through your site I have identified as a House Centipede. I have seen other bugs of this type and have not been bothered as they are a fairly small bug and the only things that really bother me are spiders – I’m arachnophobic after a traumatic (for me and possibly the spider) experience but I don’t typically kill spiders just make sure I know where they are at all times, avoid them if possible or await their relocation or sadly, their ‘remo val’. Alas, I digress – back to the event from today. As I said I have seen others of this type of centipede before and they didn’t bother me but this specimen was quite large. It appeared to be at least 2 inches long, and looked much bigger/wider due to the many legs. Since it was on my ceiling and they move so fast I felt I had 2 options: leave it or try to get rid of it. I chose the second and grabbed my broom. I swatted at it and it fell to the floor, camouflaged by the beige carpeting and dashed for the nearest hiding spot, under a cabinet, with me swatting at it. I am not positive that I extinguished its life and kept a vigil for 5-10 minutes and didn’t see any signs of it. I think their speed would impede their safe removal in the future. Is there any way to safely remove them? I find bugs fascinating when I happen upon them outside. I am originally from Eastern Canada and have been living and enjoying the variety of bugs here – I was very excited to see a praying man tis and even a Hercules beetle. I don’t go out of my way to look f or them but feel the need to do something if I see them and I’d much prefer to escort them safely outside. I am sorry that I killed (maybe) the bug and would really appreciate some feedback.
Sincerely Apologetic,
Sarah in VA

Hi Sarah,
Thanks for your nice letter.  Since it came in as a comment not connected to a specific post, we are attaching it to two previous letters with the shared subject matter of House Centipedes killed unnecessarily.  First off, we are going to let you off the guilty hook because we don’t believe you killed that fast little bugger.  House Centipedes are quite evasive.  As far as advising you on how to best remove them, we don’t really have any suggestions.  House Centipedes seem quite fond of human domiciles, and they easily enter homes.  As you noted, they are so quick, it is difficult to capture them.  Dare we suggest that you just learn to coexist?  Since you are arachnophobic, the House Centipede will most likely help keep your indoor spider population under control as well as feasting on other undesirable intruders like cockroaches.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

6 Responses to Two Dead House Centipedes killed hours apart

  1. Rebekah says:

    Okay i found one of these big things in my room late at night. it was just the one, but i completely freaked out and killed it. Its been pretty damp weather lately and i’ve had my window open (the mesh isnt sealed so well) so im assuming that is how it got in. Anyways this centipede looked like more then 2 inches to me but i was probably just overreacting, i know its dead because i really squashed it. I dont care (and wouldn’t kill them) if i just find them in other parts of my apartment like the kitchen, or living room, or bathrooms I just need some reassurance that there are not a bunch of these large centipedes in my bedroom that are crawling all over me when I’m asleep.
    Thanks ,
    Rebekah

    • bugman says:

      We cannot provide any such assurance with regards to the number of House Centipedes you might be sharing your dwelling with.

  2. Rebekah says:

    just adding another question to the one i left before. I’m looking this stuff up and people keep saying they are very aggressive and will sting you. Please tell me thats not true
    thanks
    rebekah

  3. Ace says:

    Is it true they usually die soon in a house because of the dry conditions? If so, how soon can I expect to find a dead house centipede falling out of my cereal box?

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