Subject: scared to find this in house!
Location: Northern California
December 20, 2014 10:02 pm
Hello bugman – was just putting daughter to bed when she saw this crawling down the wall right behind her pillow! She said, “What is that?”
It went fairly easily into the cup and I was able to toss it outside where the spiders go . . . but I am wondering whether it’s a centipede, millipede, or something else? And should I be worried or is it harmless? Sorry if this is repetitive for you but to me this is completely new! Just for info I am in the suburbs of the East San Francisco Bay Area in California.
Thank you so much!
This appears to be a Soil Centipede in the order Geophilomorpha, and according to BugGuide they are: “Slender, rather sluggish eyeless centipedes that have 27 to 191 pairs (the number of leg pairs is always odd) of legs and 14-segmented antennae. They burrow in the substrate in a manner similar to earthworms, by elongating and contracting their bodies.” According to MOBugs: “No need to fear these centipedes, as they will not bite humans, and have no toxic venom to harm us even if they could. They prey on many harmful beetle larvae and help aerate the soil, much like earthworms do. Their rapid movements and subterranean habitat can make them a bit unnerving, but like all insects and their relatives, they have their purpose in the environment, and these guys are fun to watch!” According to SFGate: “Soil centipedes (geophilomorpha) are very small and possess many pairs of legs, often exceeding 60 pairs. These centipedes live in the ground, where they prey on subterranean insects. They are completely harmless.” We don’t want to give the appearance of sensationalism, but we don’t want to discount the possibility of a Soil Centipede seeking shelter in a nasal passage, ear canal or other orifice, which we believe would be a very unlikely situation, however we did uncover some interesting information when we posted this account of a Soil Centipede.