Saturday, April 4, 2009

Aliens! (Actually, house centipedes)

Now that the spring weather has finally started, the creatures that were asleep all winter have awakened. There were a few ants in the outside hallway that we Raided. But those weren't the problem.

It's those damn house centipedes. I grew up about an hour and a half away from Brookline, and while we had our selection of daddy long legs and little black spiders, I have never seen anything quite as terrifying as a house centipede in my home.

It started a few nights ago. There was some light from the living room reaching the bathroom. And in the doorway -- accentuated by the angle of the light so its shadow made it appear three times larger than it was -- the first house centipede of spring. It looked like a small, slithery alien.

I screamed bloody murder.

It ran out of the bathroom and then onto the expensive area rug that my roommate had unexpectedly won from a contest a few months ago. I didn't want to squish it and incur her wrath, so I tried the next best thing -- I waited until it stopped moving and plopped an empty soup can on top of it (side note: those Campbell's Select Harvest soups are delicious!)

I then sat down at the computer and did some research. I figured out it was a house centipede. These things live 3-7 years, which seems long for a bug, and they hunt their prey at night. These things eat all sorts of baddies, like spiders, roaches, silverfish, cloth-eating moths, termites and ants. I haven't seen any other bugs except for it and the ants, so maybe it's eaten everything? I was okay with this until I saw that if a house centipede bites you, it can feel like a bee sting. And they move SO FAST it's difficult to track them down.

So, not knowing what to do with it under the soup can, I left a note by it saying "DANGER LIVE BITING CENTIPEDE." My roommate came home late from work, and we worked as a team to slide a piece of cardboard underneath the can and throw it outside.

All was fine and well until today, when I looked up at the corner of the ceiling in my bedroom because a dark spot caught my eye.


This one was swept off the ceiling and swept out of my room, and is now resting under another soup can in front of the pantry. I'm convinced it's the same one from a few days ago, and it found its way back into our apartment and waited in my room, figuring out the right time to exact its revenge.

I'm convinced.

More information about "Scutigera coleoptrata (house centipede)" is available here: