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

Subject: What’s this bug?!!!
Location: Virginia
February 26, 2017 3:39 pm
Asking for a frightened friend. Need to assure her, she can come down from the chair.
Signature: Jeffrey Maxim

House Centipede

Dear Jeffrey,
The House Centipede is one of our most frequent identification requests.  Though they are predators and they possess venom, we do not consider them to be a threat to humans.  We believe the advantages they provide by eliminating cockroaches and other unwanted, often nocturnal household pests should exempt them from Unnecessary Carnage.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is this bug?
Location: Vancouver, WA
February 16, 2017 11:53 am
Found this bug in our classroom. what is it?
Signature: Mrs. Clark’s class

House Centipede

Dear Mrs. Clark
This predatory, beneficial House Centipede will help keep the house (or classroom) free from undesirable or potentially harmful spiders and insects.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What kind of bug is this
Location: North Carolina
January 21, 2017 9:41 pm
Found this bug in my bedroom in North Carolina
Signature: Reggie

House Centipede Carnage

Dear Reggie,
This is a beneficial House Centipede, and though they are considered harmless, they can be quite frightening looking to folks that are predisposed to fear insects and other lower beasts.  We probably get more House Centipede carnage images submitted to our site than any other creature, though if Cicada Killers were found year round, they might take the lead in that unenviable position.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: House Centipedes
Location: Pennsylvania
December 10, 2016 6:34 am
I am a great fan of your site, especially since there seems to be no shortage of interesting photos of unidentified invertebrates from around the world. Among these, there is truly a wealth of Scutigeromorpha pictures on this site, and what saddens me is that most of them are smashed into oblivion.
I’ve always liked centipedes. The local library had a sizable centipede population, and I would discreetly capture and release said centipedes, which are largely gone now due to construction. When I visited my cousins nearby, I noticed they had a house centipede infestation in their backyard, in a leaf pile. Most of these were smaller than a penny and pale gray. My cousins said they rarely saw them inside. Then, my uncle returned with a load of bricks in his car, and among them were a juvenile five-lined skink and the largest house centipede I’ve ever seen. Both escaped uncaught. But then, the next day, I saw a young house centipede dangling in a spiderweb with all of its left legs gone. I rescued the poor ‘pede and as my cousins watched, fed it some spiders. Soon, after, another, smaller house centipede was found. After delivering a “no-kill” lecture to my cousins, I took the ‘pedes home as pets. Soon after their capture and subsequent feeding, both centipedes molted. What was truly amazing was the first centipede regrew all of its missing legs! Two molts later, both ‘pedes are doing fine in separate containers with substrate and bark. I would like to know if these Scutigeromorphae are different species; one is tan and the other is very dark. Also, how large does the average Scutigera coleoptrata get? What temperatures are required for the winter? Thanks for the answers and speedy reply that I know will come!
P.S. : Perhaps I will eventually email you guys a story about my encounters with praying mantids over the summer.
Signature: Lawn/Shrimp

House Centipede

House Centipede

Dear Lawn/Shrimp,
First we need to tell you how much we enjoyed your submission, and because of your attempts to relocate House Centipedes and to educate your relatives, we are tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian Award.  We have read before that partial leg regeneration may be possible with young centipedes and spiders, and according to About Education:  “Should a centipede find itself in the grip of a bird or other predator, it can often escape by sacrificing a few legs. The bird is left with a beak full of legs, and the clever centipede makes a fast escape on those that remain. Since centipedes continue to molt as adults, they can usually repair the damage by simply regenerating legs. If you find a centipede with a few legs that are shorter than the others, it’s likely in the process of recovering from a predator attack.”  According to BugGuide, the House Centipede family Scutigeridae has only two genera, and one of them,
Dendrothereua, is found west of the Mississippi River based on BugGuide date.  The other genera contains only the species known commonly as the House Centipede according to BugGuide, so our best guess is that despite the differing coloration, both of your individuals are the common House Centipede,  Scutigera coleoptrata.  Based on BugGuide information:  “Indoors they are likely to be found at all times of the year provided they have warmth and available prey. In the north they will only be found outside during Summer.”  That leads us to speculate that you should not let temperatures get below 40 degrees Fahrenheit if they cannot shelter without freezing.  BugGuide lists the size as “body length to 3 cm (1.2 inches)” but that does not include the long legs.

House Centipede

House Centipede

House Centipede

House Centipede

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unusual bug
Location: Washington DC
November 15, 2016 4:45 pm
Never seen one like this before. Friend who lives in Washington DC emailed it to me to identify. Help. No idea
Signature: Stumped

House Centipede

House Centipede

Dear Stumped,
The House Centipede is commonly found indoors where it will help keep the place free of unwanted creatures like Cockroaches.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Identify my bug please; terrifying my children and guests
Location: New Bedford, Massachusetts
September 3, 2016 8:57 pm
Dear Bugman,
I first encountered this bug when I was 6 years old happily coloring on my floor and this monstrous thing ran across my coloring book and I never touched it again. Now I live in an apartment and they’ve shown up frequently these past couple days. One gave me a heart attack in my bedroom, another ran across the kitchen counter sending my child running and screaming, and a recent one I was able to get a picture of was about 30 minutes ago in my bathroom. It is September; almost fall here in Massachusetts and about 70 degrees outside. The weather has been cooling down with a lot of rain and humidity this weekend. These bugs run super fast. They usually hang out in the dark; I’m assuming as whenever a light flickers in they run for cover elsewhere never to be seen again. They have a Buber of legs and vary from very tiny to about 4 inches long. Some are a light brown while others have a striped pattern. I’m getting shivers describing this; these are my worst bug fear. Please please PLEASE help me identify these guys; I would really appreciate. Thank you,
Signature: Terrified Mother and Cade

House Centipede

House Centipede

Dear Terrified Mother and Cade,
This is a House Centipede, and we generally refer to them as harmless, though we concede that a large individual might bite a human, but those incidents seem to be very rare.  House Centipedes are nocturnal predators that will feast upon Cockroaches and other undesirable insects and arthropods.  They are quite startling when they run quickly across the room.  We hope you realize that they will run and hide from you, and they are not interested in attacking you, and the chances of getting bitten are greatly reduced if you don’t try to catch and hold them, which we doubt you will ever attempt.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination