In Monday's post, I mentioned the inception of House Centipede Awareness Month, and my dad's timely lectures about the benefits of these CREEPY DISGUSTING HORRIFYING CREATURES...er, I mean, beautiful helpful multi-legged children of god.
Almost immediately, the comments section and my inbox filled with queries from former house centipede haters seeking enlightenment, so I had my dad transcribe his informational lecture, which, toward the end, curiously morphs into a stirring FDR-style proclamation. Per Kendall's request, I am not posting a picture of the
And now, without further ado, I'd like to introduce Franklin Delano Roosevelt:
The house centipede is an amazing little predator that should garner more respect for its positive attributes than its perceived negative ones. When you see a house centipede in your dwelling you will not see as many cockroaches, silverfish, ants or spiders. They are active ferocious hunters of other arthropods with no desire to confront humans or, in smaller centipedes, even the ability to break the skin if you were to unintentionally trap one next to it.
While the bigger ones may be able to pinch or bite to some effect, the "intent" of the creature is to effect escape, not any sort of malice. The descriptions I have read of centipede venom suggest it to be like a mild bee sting and only those people with a known sensitivity to bee and wasp venom need to be particularly concerned.
If you wish to control their numbers in your house your best efforts should go into controlling the conditions that foster the presence of prey species. Fewer bugs, fewer centipedes. Removing or controlling sources of dampness seems to be of particular importance. Seal crevices in general to eliminate hiding places, in particular, seal off entryways into the house. Deny access to food items; if you kill one adult cockroach without eliminating its food supply, you provide plenty of munchies for 100+ baby cockroaches.
For those who currently live with House Centipedes in varying degrees of "Harmony" you might consider yourselves lucky. There are other centipedes in the world up to 10 inches in length. So, if you like getting the heebie-jeebies or the goochie-goomies, the willies or the creeps, then Scolopendra heros may be the giant centipede for you.
As a side-bar: Growing up in Florida we had Wolf spiders with a leg width close to a hand span. They would often trap themselves in our bathtub and we would catch them in a jar at morning to hold them until evening, when we would place them back in the bathtub and they would catch and eat two to three cockroaches a night to my mother's great delight.
We may not like many things we come into contact with in our lives even if we know the basis of our dislike arises from fear and ignorance. While that may be, our place in this world requires us to be Fair! We do not have to like bugs or snakes or even our fellow man. But we must be fair to this world or it will be taken from us by an act of omission or commission by our own hand.
p.s. I just saw a house centipede the size of a small dog speeding toward my bed, and I screamed and smashed it with the Sarah Palin issue of Newsweek. Sorry, dad.