Currently viewing the category: "Centipedes and Millipedes"

Subject:  Centiped
Geographic location of the bug:  Corfu
Date: 08/24/2021
Time: 06:06 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What sort of bug is this and can i keep it as a pet ?
How you want your letter signed:  Mr.markus

Mediterranean Banded Centipede

Dear Mr. Markus,
We believe this is a Mediterranean Banded Centipede,
Scolopendra cingulata, a species that is known for much individual variation, but we have located two online images that show individuals with blue legs and an orange head.  One is on Encyclopedia of Life and the other on Shutterstock

Subject:  Crazy Looking Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Pullman  Washington, USA
Date: 08/21/2021
Time: 03:52 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  This bug ran across my carpet floor at about 12:30 am from seemingly under my couch/side table. Its August here and we just had a big rainstorm yesterday. Also, this bug is pretty fast, its black and white sort of striped and it has lots of legs and like a crazy fan tail thing going on. No idea what this is.
How you want your letter signed:  O.S.

House Centipede

Dear O.S.,
This House Centipede is a shy, nocturnal hunter that has evolved to cohabitate with people in their homes, where they often startle the human inhabitants when they are discovered scuttling around in the dark.

Subject:  Leggy in the mid Atlantic
Geographic location of the bug:  St George’s, Bermuda
Date: 08/13/2021
Time: 04:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dearest Bugman,
I was hoping you could kindly identify this creepy crawler I spotted while in vacation in Bermuda. Caterpillar? Centipede? You know more intel that I could ever hope for.
How you want your letter signed :  Melanie on the Irish Chain

Millipede

Dear Melanie on the Irish Chain,
This is neither a Caterpillar nor a Centipede.  It is a Millipede.  The word Centipede has Latin roots and means 100 legs.  Similarly Millipede is Latin for 1000 legs.  Though the leg count is not accurate regarding the numerical values, the name difference is due to Centipedes having a single pair of legs per body segment while the Millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment.  Millipedes do not bite, however, some species can give off a noxious gas that contains cyanide.  You may read about this on Cool Green Science where it states:  “Cyanide is so toxic to most living organisms that it was once thought that cyanide millipedes were running the risk of killing themselves each time released this secretion; that they must close off the openings that they use to breathe in order to survive. But scientists found that the millipedes are immune to cyanide — able to process it and convert it into harmless chemicals.”

mIllipede

Subject:  What is this scary looking thing?!
Geographic location of the bug:  Inglewood,CA
Date: 10/26/2019
Time: 05:26 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I found this in my bathtub after 1am. It’s big and scary and has a lot of long legs. Seeing it just grossed me out so I drowned it (I think) :/
Thanks,
How you want your letter signed:  Amber

House Centipede

Dear Amber,
This is a nocturnal, predatory House Centipede.  House Centipedes are shy and they will avoid humans.  They do have a mild venom, and a large specimen might bite if carelessly handled, but it is much more likely to flee.

Subject:  Do I need to burn down the house?
Geographic location of the bug:  Simi Valley, CA
Date: 06/22/2019
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!

Multicolored Centipede

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. 

Subject:  Hundreds of caterpillars
Geographic location of the bug:  Hershey, pa
Date: 05/04/2019
Time: 09:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  hi, I went out to my garden this evening around 9:30 and found these bugs walking all over my raised beds and up the walls of my house. I didn’t see any on my plants. they are small, very skinny about three-quarter inch to an inch long.What are they?
How you want your letter signed:  Skaterma

Millipede Invasion

Dear Skaterma,
These are not Caterpillars.  They are Millipedes.  Here is an Iowa State University article on Millipedes where it states:  “Millipedes are harmless. They can not bite or sting and they do not feed on structures, furnishings or landscape plants. They do feed on damp and decaying plant material and are ecologically beneficial as “recyclers” of organic matter. They live outdoors in damp areas such as under leaves, needles, plant debris, mulch and similar habitats.

The bad news is millipedes often embark on mass migrations, especially on humid, warm nights in the fall and spring, during which time they wander into garages, basements and other parts of the house. All millipedes found inside have strayed in by mistake from breeding sites in the vicinity. Millipedes can not reproduce indoors.
Millipedes are most active at night. They wander out from their damp hiding places and roam aimlessly, often covering large distances with their slow, steady crawl. They are not drawn to garages and houses nor are they searching for anything in particular (food, warmth, mates, etc.).
Wandering millipedes eventually bump into the house where they find small gaps or cracks. They crawl into these small openings as a shelter from the dryness of the coming daytime. Millipedes hide during the day under the bottom edge of the garage door, in cracks along the house, sidewalk or driveway and in gaps in the foundation. Openings in the foundation allow the millipedes to enter the house, where they continue wandering until they find a place to hide or until they expire from lack of moisture, coiled in the corners of a room.”