Count 'em. 15 Pairs of legs.
Now imagine spotting this creature climbing all over your solid white walls at the speed of light.
I spot one at least twice per week during the late Spring, Summer, and early Fall months; if the temperature is above 70 degrees and the humidity is high outside, my home is fair game for these buggers...
I'll never forget the first time I spotted a house centipede, just a couple of weeks after my husband and I moved into our Southeastern Ohio home in Summer 2006. It was on the ceiling. I screamed, I cried, I laid in bed and writhed in fear and had a serious case of "the shakes". I had no idea What the EFF the creature was, what it was doing in my home, and wondered if there were more. The S.O.B. was a total pain to kill - my husband, standing on a chair and equipped with a Nike Air Jordan in his hand, was no match for Mr. Centipede - the bug scurried away, laughing at my husband's numerous attempts to kill it. Eventually, the hubs succeeded. "It" was dead. And both of us had the heeby jeebies all night long.
I couldn't resist googling the ugly effer, and much to my surprise, I found that it was actually beneficial for homes because it ate other possibly dangerous insects. How in the Hizz-ELL could something so scary looking be beneficial? I also learned that they thrive in humid climates, especially in wooded areas. I thought critically for a moment: I lived on top of a hill, in the woods, in Southeastern Ohio where the humidity is like 14700% in the summer. I knew I hadn't seen my last house centipede.
If I've ever come close to having a heart attack, it would have been on a warm, humid summer morning during the week that our central air was being repaired, just a couple of weeks after "the first encounter". At 6 a.m., I sleepily stumbled into the bathroom with towel and washcloth in hand, pulled back the shower curtain, and there were THREE. Hot Mama, Big Papa, and Teenager Centipede. I was frozen, as were my centipede friends.
Enter my then 5 month old super spunky, sharp-clawed tom house-cat.
In total desperation, I tossed my orange tabby into the bathtub, and he annihilated the centipede family one by one. He clawed and squished each bug so quickly, so easily... then proceeded to bat around the piles of legs and goo that remained. I cleaned up the mess while my cat pranced around proudly. I. was. traumatized.
Over the years, we've encountered these 30-legged freaks pretty regularly. An exterminator comes twice per year, but there are always a few bugs that manage to survive, and stumble out of their hiding places, confused and bewildered. Up until around a year ago, my cat enjoyed preying on them... now he just sits and stares, lazily. A part of my regular cleaning regimen is inspecting our white walls for splotches of bug remains. Every single morning i hesitantly pull back the shower curtain. And there have been a couple of instances where one was hiding in my damp towel basket, and i "found" it when doing laundry. On a positive note, we never have ants or spiders, so HOT DAMN - they really must feed on other insects! To my knowledge, a centipede has never touched my bare skin (although it's possible that i've swallowed one or two while sleeping.) House centipedes keep to themselves and stay on the walls, near the ceiling - so if you happen to encounter these scary creatures, don't worry - they're not hunting for you.
As part of the blog gang hosted by Susie, I thought I would share my creepy, ongoing battle with house centipedes. If you are craving a little bit of hair-raising entertainment this Halloween, go ahead and google centipede images - you're sure to be in for a scare!