The Bug Slayer

Category: Daily Diary

Before I moved into this house, I was a total wuss about anything with more than 6 legs.

I mean, there were things with six legs I wasn't keen on either. Like the Palmetto bug. These bugs have six legs but THEY ARE LARGER THAN MY SHOE, therefore making them part of the "HTK" (Harder to Kill) category and super scary. (Click to make photo larger...IF YOU DARE!!!)

My friend, K, is going to bust me on this one because I think that is actually a picture of a giant roach. But a palmetto bug LOOKS like a Giant ROACH to me. So. There.

Well, we don't have these. But! We do have icky SPIDERS:

Again, I don't hang around to take pictures of real spiders...I am usually hollering for A at the top of my lungs to come kill it. Do you know how FAST those things are? And how much ground they can cover for their size? I think creepy + speed = death fear in my book. And yes, I know, I know. "Spiders are our friends because they kill other bugs." I've heard it, I've said it to 7 year olds while crossing my fingers behind my back. Well, fine. Spiders can be someone else's friend. I don't want them as friends. I am not scared out of my mind by other bugs!!! Which is why I sucked up all the spiders in the basement with the Wet/Dry vacuum last weekend. A told me that I would regret it, but I only regret it because I'm too afraid to empty the Wet/Dry Vac. Did I regret sucking them up into their own private plastic prison, however?


Which brings me to my most feared enemy, the THOUSAND LEGGER.


I never, ever saw these before I moved to the Midwest. They are technically a "house centipede". Uh-huh. That makes them sound too nice, like a "House Cat" or a "House Pet". These things have ONE MILLION LEGS (perhaps a tiny exaggeration) that enable them to propel themselves at you faster than you can run. They run across the floor and up a wall. There are so many legs, you can't guess which way they are going to turn...which is why it is good to just RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! If you see one.

Well. That was before I moved into "The House".

We still have these things. But I have become numb. My first 1000-legger encounter took me by surprise early on, I'll admit. I was walking into the kitchen and it was walking out. I screamed at the top of my lungs and spun around to take off. But just before my sprint, I noticed something.

It spun around too. And dove under the stove. I scared it.

Aha. My feared enemy is VULNERABLE.

So, 2 nights ago, up at 3:00 am, I had a metal spatula on the desk next to me. (Don't ask why.) And a BIG, HUGE thousand legger fluttered its way across the platform where the cat's food bowl is. And I thought, "Oh no, you don't, bug boy!"

And I reached over, cut it in two with the spatula and went back to typing, thinking "I'll clean it up in the morning or (hopefully) the cat will eat it."

The cat, however, is useless...unless its prey is in the shape of a pellet of Iams Cat Chow and that pellet does try to run away. Pulls no weight around here in the pest control department.

So, after proudly displaying my kill to my husband the next morning, I wrapped it in TP and flushed it. Because, you know, drowning the bug even after it is dead makes SURE it won't come back to life and come and get you....right?

p.s. I slept last night. First time in days. Whoo hooo!

Looking for More?

House in Progress Search for more on 'thousand-leggers' on this site. Search for 'thousand-leggers' on on other houseblogs like this one.
Google Search for 'thousand-leggers' on Google. Search for 'thousand-leggers' on


"icky SPIDERS'!
keep those puppies around as they help keep the other 6 leg critter pop. down.
keep up the great work on the bungalow!
we too are renovating a house. well, actually 2.
we've hired murphey's law as our legal advice so remember.... simply add the next increment of time and double that to give you a rough idea of when you might be done with a project.

what the heck do i mean?
you think it might take 5 hours.....instead it'll take about 10 days.
kudo's to you!

Hey there, I'd like to 'donate' a piece of original artwork for your home. I have been reading this site for the past hour (!) and have been thoroughly entertained, awed, and sympathetic...would you be interested?
The only problem is that I don't even know what type of art you like...I am an abstractionist and paint mostly non-objective art. The type of painting that would be appropriate nearly anywhere in the house...that's what I do.

Well, have a good day--and good luck!


House centipedes are one of the worst creatures on the planet, on par with silverfish and wasps. The things won't even die right - if you squash them, the legs continue moving independently for a little bit, as if they were all individually trying to get away. And they have only a tenuous hold on surfaces, so the slightest tap will send them toward the ground - or on you, if you're under them. As far as I'm concerned, these must be destroyed with *extreme prejudice*.

Hi there, J&A! I've had a chance to read through some of this, and it's hilarious! The bug thing really hit home with me -- my dog doesn't know many tricks, but she does eat spiders, and that's good enough for me. J, do you too feel that spiders are more threatening when on the walls than when on the floor? I'm always worried that if I thwack them with a newspaper or magazine, they will inevitably fall on my head ........

betsy---they know that about us...they know we feel that way. And that is why they run screaming down the ceiling towards us at a dead run. (from their point of view, I'm sure it is like something out of a Pixar movie.) Could your dog teach coco to chase spiders? coco does not chase things smaller than an apple. she can upwrap gifts carefully with her teeth though, at Christmas time.

heather--that is the NICEST OFFER EVER!! Your site and your work is AMAZING! We, of course, would love anything from your talented hands, in any size and would photograph the installation in our new home. It would probably be the only new thing IN here! If you have not seen Heather's site, her work can be seen at and it reminds me of a lovely Dar Williams song that I cannot remember the title of.

Ya know, I've never really had a problem with bugs...until I was standing in the kitchen of my old apartment and a cockroach fell on my head. Evidently it had been crawling around in my overhead light fixture until that very moment. Now I have sworn to wage war on them and all their ilk. was a whopper of a roach, too. Fortunately, Bear (my puppy) loves the crunch of a good bug. I've done all I can to encourage his's just extra protein after all.

What is it about bugs that inspires people? Is this topic causing the Most Ever Comments? Millipedes don't bother me but I LOSE IT when it comes to spiders. Problem is, the only thing worse than seeing a spider is NOT seeing a spider (like it's hiding and is about to drop from a thread right IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE!!!) and the only thing worse than those 2, in my book, is a SQUISHED spider. So when I see one, I invoke the Spider Removal Program (DH - Dear Husband). He is required to pick it up, safely, and remove it out of doors. Go kill something, I say as it leaves.

As the cat sleeps....

(Not much of a bug catcher either I'm afraid.)


You may be right about the universal appeal (or universal horror) of creepy bugs. I was just told by my DH that "thousand legger" is the most frequently used search term for the site--in here or out there in Google/Yahoo land.

Maybe it's evolutionary? I don't know...

How freaky I showed my mom and friend and my mom was freaking out.

Thanks for the picture of the "house centipede" I've been wondering what they are! I hadn't seen one until I moved into a house in Chicago. My roommates call them "Hell Spawn", and I think that name fits them better. They are EVIL BUGS!!!

Since I've purchased my house, not much bothers me except those centipedes. I had no idea what they were, but my sister called them moustaches. The name stuck with me because they're a little easier to take when I think of them as little moustaches running around.

Now, moustaches is MUCH easier to live with.

I used to live near Detroit and those thousand leg House centipedes would come into our basement through pipes in the winter. When I was a kid I would smack them enough to stun them, then I would feed them to my African Clawed Frogs (underwater frogs).

Later I found out that those centipedes bite. Two crawled into my workboots that I kept in the garage and as I put my feet in I got bit, felt like a small hornet/yellow jacket bite, but I didnt have any alergic reaction to it.

I live in Florida now and I battle the Palmetto bugs now

Last Christmas my wife gave me an electric bug vacuum. It is kind of like a dustbuster with a long tube for picking up bugs in hard to reach areas. The best part is that it has a high-voltage grid in it that electrocutes the bug after it sucks it up. You can even look inside and watch the bug get zapped. Then you just dump it out into the trash. Works great. Makes catching bugs fun.

I was trying to remember how I even came across your site, then I remembered! I was doing a websearch for "palmetto bugs" and somehow got linked to your little blurb on bugs! Anyhow, I have spent the better part of the morning, just browsing through your before and after photos (great work, by the way!) I should totally be working! I noticed you mentioned LiveJournal as well, I am on livejournal as snoopy_irma if you guys are ever curious as to how the "other half" (single people!) live! :) Good luck to you both!!

I love house centipedes, and I am sorry for them that so many people hate them. I have a couple in my place now(hoping for more too)they do not bother me, actually they are kind of funny to watch running across the walls looking for real pest. And other things like brown recluse and black widow spiders that could hurt you for real.

House centipedes are shy, and quite afraid of people too ! They are beneficial allies against bad bugs(like roaches)that spread disease. Please give them a break, and don't let your fear get the better of you :) !


We will send you all of the big ones. Since last year, the little ones bother me less. But we seem to have an unending supply of very UN-shy LARGE ones. Ones that veer right for you. That want to shake hands. Say "howdy!" Get personal.

Shy is cool. I don't mind shy. But the ones that I have to share the bathtub with, well, it's me or them.

(Having found out more about them, though, they are very beneficial to have around.)

Unfortunately my house appears to have been plagued with the more, how would you say...gregarious variety of house centipede. As much as I would like to think them beneficial creatures, I don't take very kindly to being pursued by thirty-legged monstrosities in a rousing game of "follow the leader" across the kitchen floor.

I’m not alone! I was starting to think my homemaking skills (or lack thereof) were to blame. I feel slightly better knowing now that house centipedes do a pretty good job hunting down other small critters. I have also found that naming my “thousand-legger” lends a sense of familiarity, thus reducing the stress of finding him in my shower.

Charlie the Sea Creature and I live in a basement apartment in Minneapolis. He and I will continue to respectfully co-habitate as long as he stays the hell away from my bedroom.

That’s just crossing the line.


Email this Entry to a Friend

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

a neighborhood of home improvement blogs

Cabinet Refacing
Cabinet Refacing:
Face Your Kitchen | Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing