You just can NOT fully grasp my fear and loathing of BUGS. You can’t. You haven’t seen the tears or fits of hysteria. It’s sad really. I’m a fairly bright, happy, intelligent human being who is reduced to shrieking fits at the sight of a BUG. Ants I can handle. Ants I can live with. And do! Spiders are around, and I don’t like it, but I deal with it. BUGS? Ugh. (To clarify, anything icky with lots of legs that is not invited into my house is a BUG.)
This morning I came downstairs to begin today like every other day (getting the baby a drink) and sitting there awaiting my arrival was a rather large centipede. I ignored it, of course, fearing what would happen to me should it decide to vacate my sink; and I tried not to imagine it running loose across the floor or playing with my children.
Can you believe the Evil Gnome (dear darling sweet husband) wouldn’t come home from work to deal with it? The nerve. So I turn to my internet friends for ideas, and the only one I am prepared to do is rinse it down the drain. Which I do. With incredibly HOT water. It was not thrilled. It went down the drain, which is good because I had been entertaining the mental picture of it being stuck in the drain and wiggling around until someone threw it a life saver and pulled it free.
It went down and I left the water running…because the next mental picture I had was it coming back up the drain and being really MAD at me. You don’t want an angry psychotic bug chasing you around your house. What if it told its friends what you tried to do? There would be hundreds of angry psychotic bugs chasing you around your house, awaiting you at every turn, in every cupboard….*shudder*
Having voiced this particular fear, one of my braver friends (in Florida…too far away to come do it herself) told me to dump Draino down there too…because, she claims…the acid would just dissolve the bug should it be clinging to the side of the pipe. I don’t know if she is humoring me or is just as insane as I am and I’m not sure I want to know.
My next weapon is knowledge. Having researched my bug buddy I’ve discovered it’s called a “house centipede” because they like to live in human homes. The good news is they eat insects…you know…the things I HATE. This makes them slightly more tolerable. Still ugly and yucky, but slightly tolerable.
House centipedes also have a kind of cool defense mechanism. They aren’t made for fighting so when an enemy is holding down one of its legs the house centipede will drop that leg in hopes that the flailing limb will distract the enemy long enough for it to make an escape. I was thinking that would be kind of neat to be able to do, say, if you’re getting mugged; however, my research didn’t indicate whether or not that leg would grow back and I wouldn’t want to be a limb short forever. I’m pretty inept and clumsy now, never mind with missing limbs.
In laboratory testing 24 female house centipedes produced an average of 63 eggs each and a maximum of 151 eggs which are laid in spring and early summer. For me, this alone is enough to want them gone. One or two I could probably live with….151, well…NO WAY.
Finally, I learned they like cool, damp places. Outside you can find them under rocks, piles of wood and in compost piles. Inside they’re usually in the basement or bathroom but are also seen in dry places like offices, bedrooms and dining rooms. You’re also more likely to see them in spring when they come out to enjoy the warmness or in fall when cooler weather forces them indoors. They don’t cause damage to food or furniture, but because of their appearance and painful (although harmless unless you’re one of the few allergic to the mild venom) bite few homeowners are willing to share their homes with them. To drive them away you can try drying up the areas where they could thrive inside, getting rid of the insect population in your home, sealing cracks in the walls and calling your friendly neighborhood exterminator.