House Centipedes: Mr. Scampers and the Scutigera Coleoptrata Family

A few things to start. First, this picture is not a centipede. It’s a caterpillar. But it’s the closest I could get to a “cutesy” centipede photo without traumatizing certain visitors with a huge real-life photo (hi Liz, hi Meg).

If you’re curious what I’m referring to when I say “house centipede,” check out this Wikipedia entry on Scutigera Coleoptrata.

As you can probably guess, Liz doesn’t like these guys. At all.

In the past, I’d sometimes hear a blood-curdling scream from a part of the house… and have to run over to “take care” of the interloper.

Her screams are absolutely terrifying to me, as I’m always caught off guard and it just stops my heart. But then again for Liz – those instances, she’s also caught off guard as well. Still, over the last year, she’s been really great about calling for me… instead of just screaming.

I mention this now because of late, we’ve seen a rise in how many “house guests” we’ve had. To offset some of the scariness, we’ve taken to referring to these guys by a name: “Mr. Scampers.”

It helps, if only a little.

Unfortunately, this is not quite a once-size-fits-all kind of name. In a few instances, we’ve had some larger “house guests” that we’ve taken to calling “Captain Scampers.”

Because it’s now fall, these guys are seeking shelter and showing up a bit more. We tend to see them in the basement, in the 2nd floor bathroom, and in my office (for the last two rooms, the fact that we have some exposed walls doesn’t help).

I think that when we cleared the basement a week or two ago, we kind of disturbed their home. Ever since those wood piles got relocated, we started seeing a few more visitors show up.

It’s gotten to the point now where we’ve taken to shaking out towels and things in the bathroom, just in case.

As an example: we don’t quite have a spot for our toilet paper, so the rolls just kind of sit on their side, on top of a nearby floor cabinet. Recently, as I was (ahem) reading in the bathroom… I reached over for the toilet paper, and Mr. Scampers dropped from the TP to the floor.

That’s right – he was hiding inside the toilet paper roll, tucked away in the cylindrical cardboard tube. Just waiting.

It’s now a thing I’ve become conditioned to checking.

The good news is that, once we finalize the basement more (power washing, drywall, epoxy)… we’ll have made things less appealing and more difficult for Mr. Scampers and his family to stay with us.

Regardless, it’s at least one thing to look forward to, when Winter comes.

[CC photo via Tom Page]

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