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Visit from a house centipede

Posted by Erika Barthelmess,
North Country explorer from Canton, NY
August 19, 2015

Ran into this house centipede last night in the bathroom. According to wikipedia and a Penn State Extension Service publication, house centipedes such as this one arrived in North America in the mid 1800's from the Mediterranean region and worked their way north into New York by the later 1800's. Centipedes like this one are good to have around - as predators (with venom!) they eat spiders, termites, ants, and bed bugs. Though they sting their prey to subdue it, they rarely bite humans and when they do, there is usually very little if any reaction.

And the move fast! I managed to get a glass over this one and removed it to outside; while doing so I was impressed at how quickly its 15 pairs of legs carry it! The last pair of legs are modified to look like antennae - a form of camouflage so that it is not immediately evident which end is the head. Can you tell which end is the head in this photo?

Anyhow - if you see one of these in your home, don't be frightened. Harmless house cleaners.

House centipede in the bathroom

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