Kitchen Nature: House Centipede

A “House Centipede” was in the house this morning. He was trapped in my kitchen sink—my uncharacteristically clean sink—which proved so slick even 15 pairs of centipede legs could not scrabble a foothold.

Centipedes aren’t new to me, but a clean sink is, as is an organized kitchen. My threshold for dirt and chaos has always been high. But looming pandemics change people. I changed when I realized my family would be hunkered down for an undetermined length of time, and that we’d need to feed ourselves,
and that I was the only one who knew where the food was.

The first thing I did was organize the pantry so that if I dropped dead,
at least my boys could find the mac ‘n’ cheese.

House centipedes are common whether one’s house is clean or chaotic. They do their work at night, when humans are less likely to notice, freak out, and call an exterminator. Centipedes ARE exterminators: they actively hunt any little creature we regard as pests, like small cockroaches, spiders, grain moths, silverfish, and bed bugs.
House centipedes clean our houses.

It’s all those LEGS, and the SPEED at which all those legs MOVE that freak us out, we humans. But of course, we humans are busy being freaked out by bigger things right now.

o – o – o

The moral of this story: not all “bugs” inside the house are enemies.
Another moral: clean sinks catch creatures so interesting they delay Morning Tea and provide a distraction from Generalized Anxiety.

o – o – o

How do I know my centipede was a “he?” just taught me that the hindmost pair of legs on a female house centipede will be twice the length of the body. So, my breakfast guest appears to be male.

o – o – o

About the author:

My Instagram feed is 100% nature, and most of it the Sidewalk kind.
No selfies. No shots of my teacup unless there is a noteworthy plant or animal floating in it.

I don’t like facebook, but some folks are on it who aren’t on Instagram, so I post nature things there from time to time.

Bio: Joanna Brichetto is a naturalist in Nashville, the hackberry-tree capital of the world. She writes about everyday wonders amid everyday habitat loss, and has essays at BrevityFourth GenreHippocampusThe HopperFlyway, The CommonCity CreaturesThe Fourth River and other journals. Her current project is a book of linked essays called Paradise in a Parking Lot.