Subject: Do I need to burn down the house?
Geographic location of the bug: Simi Valley, CA
Time: 01:12 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dear all knowing big men-
I found this centipede in the house today and needless to say, pretty freaked out!
We have small children! Are they carnivorous? Poisonous?
Anything I should look for to find their hiding place if there are more? Or do I need to burn down the house?!?
How you want your letter signed: Freaked out mama!
Dear Freaked out mama!,
This is a Multicolored Centipede, identified by Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin as being Scolopendra polymorpha, and on BugGuide called the Common Desert Centipede or Tiger Centipede. Centipedes are carnivorous and they do have venom. According to Hogue: “The bite of this species may be painful. Although there are no data on the effects of its poison on humans, it is probably harmless.” Of the order, BugGuide notes: “They can bite and also pinch with their last pair of legs. Bites may cause intense pain, swelling, discoloration, numbness, and necrosis, and require medical assistance, although there are no really dangerous, deadly centipedes, and no confirmed human fatalities.” We suspect it accidentally wandered indoors and we do not recommend burning down the house.