Currently viewing the category: "Centipedes and Millipedes"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Black and orange with yellow legs
Geographic location of the bug:  Williamsburg, VA
Date: 03/19/2019
Time: 08:01 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My two year old came across this bug while picking up rocks. She touched it and ran back to me saying “ouch!” over and over. There is a red mark on her finger. I don’t know if it bit her or stung her or if it has a substance on it. We have found them in our yard before, but never touched them. She probably did not see it and just reached down for a rock. She is fine, but I can’t find a picture that matched exactly. When it unrolls it has a black “face” area. Thank you in advance for your help.
How you want your letter signed:  Worried Mom

Colorful Millipede

Dear Worried Mom,
This is sure a colorful Millipede, and though we are not certain of the species, we believe it might be
Semionellus placidus which is pictured on BugGuide and reported from Virginia.  Of the family Xystodesmidae, BugGuide indicates:  “Many are brightly colored and all have stink glands.”  We seem to recall that some Millipedes can release cyanide as a defense, but we will need to do additional research on that matter.  We do not believe this colorful Millipede poses a threat.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Unkown Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Malta, Europe.
Date: 02/03/2019
Time: 05:21 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, can you tell me what this bug is?
How you want your letter signed:  Mauro Cilia

House Centipede

Dear Mauro,
The House Centipede is a cosmopolitan, nocturnal predator that had adapted to cohabitation with humans.  While it is possible that a bite might occur, House Centipedes tend to flee.  Since House Centipedes pose no threat to the home, their predatory behavior might be considered beneficial since they eat Cockroaches, Spiders and other less welcome household intruders.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  this bug dropped into my pond
Geographic location of the bug:  Noosa, Queensland Australia
Date: 12/08/2018
Time: 06:57 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this guy on the surface of my pond – guessing it dropped from the tree above??
How you want your letter signed:  Fi

Remains of a Centipede

Dear Fi,
Your image is of the partial remains of a Giant Centipede, possibly 
Ethmostigmus rubripes.  According to The Australian Museum:  “This is the largest native Australian centipede and is a member of the scolopendrid family.”  The site also states:  “The Giant Centipede ranges in colour from dark blue-green-brown to orange-yelllow.  It has black bands along the body and yellow legs and antenna.  The body is long and flatterned with 25 or 27 body segments and 21 or 23 pairs of legs. The first pair of legs behind the head are modified claws which curve around its head and can deliver venom into its prey. The venom is toxic to both mammals and insects, but does not appear to be strong enough to kill large animals quickly.”  We can only speculate on why you only discovered the posterior remains.  Perhaps a predator like a bird or lizard ate the front end of the Giant Centipede. 

Thanks.  Yes, that makes sense.
Fiona McComb

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination