Currently viewing the category: "Centipedes and Millipedes"

Unknown Bug in VA
I’ve seen these around in the past, but this year they are everywhere, and by the hundreds. I’ve attached some photos. Sorry for the size, but I wanted you to get as much detail as possible. Great site.
Brad Barker

Hi Brad,
You have millipedes. These are distinguished from centipedes since they have two pairs of legs on each segment. They are relatively benign creatures that can get very numerous, as you well know, when it is warm and damp. They sometimes eat new seedlings, but mostly they eat decaying matter and help to break down debris.

In my home one day I spotted a horrible bug. It was six inches long,gray and looked like it had hair for legs and was incredibly fast.It look like this:
Katherine Cohen

Hi Katherine,
You have made a wonderful drawing of a House Centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata, though six inches is an exaggeration.

Hi. First, I want to thank you for your wonderfully informative site. I was trying to identify the very creepy looking critter in my bathtub and was able to find out that it was a house centipede and that I need not be afraid. 🙂 Anyway, I had gotten a pretty good picture of it and thought I’d pass it along in case you could make use of it.
Thanks again.

Hi Tina,
I’m glad we could be helpful. I will post your photo immediately. Since we get so many letters about House Centipedes, it is always nice to have a new image for the homepage.

We were in Dierks, AR near the Lower Saline River in the Ouachita Mountains and pretty close to the southeast border of Oklahoma. We lifted up a kayak only to find this extremely fast moving critter resembling a centipede. However, it was approximately 6-8 inches long and the body was black with yellow legs and red antennas. We chased it around on the ground and a friend got it on video, but the critter started raising it’s body off the ground and almost bouncing around like it was mad. None of us had ever seen anything like it. And here is some more information on the area: we saw the largest tarantula ever in AR in this area and the river we were on is really full of sulphur from the decaying plants. I understand this is due to the lake only being drawn down twice a year and the soil on the bottom containing the sulphur gets stirred. So my conclusion on these large bugs is that maybe it has something to do with the water. Again, though, I am really curious as to what the centipede look alike might be. If we are able to get the video on computer and download an image, I will make sure it is sent to you.
Thanks, Renee Wilson, CPA
Loan Review Officer
Bank of the Ozarks

Dear Renee,
Oklahoma has centipedes the size you saw. Since you are so close, you may be within the range of the species. I haven’t found much information on them except that they are large and have a poisonous bite. I don’t think the water has much to do with the size of the tarantula and centipede you found. Please send the photo if you are able. We would love to see it.

Whole lotta legs
Dear Señor Bugman,
Please help. What the !*&^%$!@* are these things?!?!
I am an American who was transferred to Mexico for my job. I live in a small town located in Mexico (State of Sonora) along the Sea of Cortez. Unfortunately living conditions here are not the best. Yes, we found these horrible things in our house. Yes, we have had the house fumigated (several times). AND YES, I am having nightmares about being eaten alive by these giant bugs. It took a half a jug of Ortho bug killer to bring these creatures to their demise (me screaming the entire time). See attached pictures. We have also encountered tarantulas, reptiles, and snakes in our home. Needless to say, every single day here is an adventure in the animal kingdom that’s for sure.

My goodness. I consider myself to be fairly brave in the face of most bugs – I can squash ’em with the best of ’em. However, when the bugs begin to approach the size of a small dog and they have hair of their own and small things that resemble horns-things change. YUCK!!! I get the heebie-jeebies just reading about them on your web site.

As for the reptilia I have so bravely encountered in my shower each day….let me just say – NO!!! I adore anything with fur (okay maybe not bugs with fur), I can tolerate things with feathers and fins…but ANYTHING that falls into the reptile category HAS GOT TO GO!!! YYYYEEESSSSHHHHHH!!!
In any case….can you please just tell me if the pictures I’ve attached of these creeepy crawly things are poisonous???
Muchas gracias,
Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico

Icky Long Bug: Millipede

Big Ugly Bug: Multicolored Centipede

Dear Bugged Out Cactus Girl Becky,
At the risk of seeming insensitive, I just love your letter, and the photos are great. Please continue to send us photos of Mexican fauna whenever you want.
Your Icky Long Bug is a millipede, and it is harmless. On the other hand, your big ugly bug is a centipede that is capable of inflicting a painful and poisonous bite. At least yours is not as big as they grow in other parts of the tropics and in the Oklahoma desert where they are reported to reach upwards of eight inches. Yours appears to be a Multi-Colored Centipede, Scolopendra polymorpha. Little is known about their biology. The last pair of legs is capable of pinching. The reptile looks like a gecko, and will probably eat insects in your shower.

Dear most Knowledgeable Bugman,
Ooops. Sorry I see that you addressed my "bug letter" on your bug site already, so please ignore the email I just resent to you.

Thanks you so much for responding to my email on your website. It is much appreciated. At least I now know which bugs are poisonous (and require screaming AND running) vs. the bugs which are not poisonous (only require screaming).

I will continue to capture strange Mexico bug pictures and email them to you. Thank god my camera has a giant zoom lens. You can bet I won’t be getting close to any of these gawd awful slimy things.

On a more pleasant note…..we had another snake invade our house this week. My heroic husband managed to skewer it with his pool que. Now there’s creative reptile/bug killing! The last time we had a snake in our house, it managed to hide in the bathroom until I had to tinkle. Guess who REALLY woke up at 5:30 a.m. in the morning when it crawled across the tops of their bare feet? Yes, that’d be me. I ended up perched on top the of the toilet with the snake between me and the only escape route (the door, of course). Screams can’t even begin to describe what sounds my husband woke up to that morning. When he opened up the bathroom door it slithered across his feet too (serves him right for sleeping through my snake trauma). He ended up whacking that one in half, and then stood there in total shock while both halves kept moving. Utter horror! Right out of a Steven King novel. I kid you not. Maybe someday when I am brave enough, I will tell you about the story of the cockroach nest in our water tank. Shivvvvvvver.

Bugman, I found what I have identified as a centipede but im not sure what kind. I found it on a lady’s porch. It is about 6" long and about the width of a mans index finger, or mine anyways. Color is dark brown and has two sets of legs for each body segment. I live on the coast of North Carolina and have never seen a centipede anywhere close to this size. Is this native to this area?…is it even native to the U.S.? I can take some pictures of it and send them in if this would help or if you are interested in seeing it.
Thank you

Dear Erik,
Please send the photos. There is a large desert centipede known as Scolopendra heros. S. heros has three subspecies. The S. heros "family" are the only centipedes in the continental United
States that can attain lengths larger than 8 inches. They are normally reported from desert areas especially Oklahoma and Texas, but they are also kept as pets by people. Perhaps your
specimen escaped or perhaps the range is much greater than expected. We would very much like to see a photo. For your information, centipedes have only one pair of legs per segment, and millipedes have two pairs per segment.