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  #1  
Old 01 July 2007, 09:57 PM
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Fright Scared of centipedes

Comment: Last night at work, my coworkers were afraid to go in the
bathroom because they'd seen a centipede in there. As far as I knew,
centipedes are harmless, and I told my coworkers this, but they insisted
that centipedes can burrow under your skin and the only way to get them
out is by burning them! This sounded absolutely preposterous to me, and I
suggested that maybe they were thinking of ticks, but they swore
centipedes do this. Of course I researched this after I got home, not
really because I thought it was true (and everything I could find about
centipedes confirms that it's not), but because I wanted some sort of
debunking of this particular myth, or a history of its origin, or
something like that. I couldn't find anything! Nothing that I could find
online mentions that there is a widespread belief of this sort. My two
coworkers seem to have come to this belief independently, and that leads
me to believe that it isn't just one person's wacky notion but a true
urban legend.
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  #2  
Old 01 July 2007, 10:02 PM
Neffti
 
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I was told that centipedes like to burrow under human skin by kids at my primary school in Wales in the 70s & 80s. Rubbish, but a nice icky story to make people squeal in the playground.
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  #3  
Old 01 July 2007, 10:54 PM
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No they do not burrow under skin, but I believe some can inflict nasty bite

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaver...ehandling.html
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  #4  
Old 01 July 2007, 11:19 PM
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I never knew centipedes were poisonous until I moved to Japan. There are some really nasty ones here, that grow up to six inches. (Warning: Link not for the squeamish about bugs!) I can't think of another creature on this planet that I hate more than these. I used to live in a very old building that had been a hospital. The new hospital had been built next door. It had lots of centipedes but whenever I complained about it my friends teased me and said, "Dont worry; you can always go next door if you're bitten!" Actually it was in my present home that I was first bitten. I was asleep in bed -- not on the floor! -- when I felt it trying to bite the sole of my foot. Fortunately, it couldn't get a good bite because the skin was too thick there and I was able to kill it. One year, I lost count after killing the thirteenth one inside but, so far, zero this year. (Crossing my fingers. This constant rain usually brings them out.)

Anyway, maybe some people mistake the raised welt sometimes caused by a centipede's poison as the centipede having crawled under the skin.
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  #5  
Old 01 July 2007, 11:30 PM
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Hello Kitty

No, they don't burrow, and yes, they bite.

"No worse than a bee sting" is all well and good, unless you happen to be allergic to bees.

These are what I have around here. We kill them on sight.

Four Kitties
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  #6  
Old 01 July 2007, 11:40 PM
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We get them in Brooklyn, too. Ballsy little feckers, they crawl right up onto your laptop screen!
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  #7  
Old 02 July 2007, 08:28 PM
major accent
 
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Ponder the spice of life

There are many, many varieties of centipedes (although admittedly none will actually burrow under your skin), and most seem to prefer avoiding all contact with people.

The most common variety found in the house around here is a soft-bodied centipede with long, feathery legs, with a body from 1/2 to a couple inches long. They are usually tan or brown, but recently I spied one that was bright orange (yes, it was real; I caught it and released it outside at my wife's insistence).

I used to hate centipedes (mostly due to their grotesque appearance), but I've changed my mind. They're still ugly, but they are also unique and, like spiders, keep the numbers of nuisance bugs at a minimum.

In conclusion, centipedes get a bad rap!
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  #8  
Old 02 July 2007, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by major accent View Post
In conclusion, centipedes get a bad rap!
Well, if you're that enamored of them, I'll send you ours! (Unless you only want me to send the ones that are over 5 inches... check out those pictures in my link.)
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  #9  
Old 03 July 2007, 08:22 AM
Hypno Toad
 
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Does anyone else feel itchy?

HT
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  #10  
Old 03 July 2007, 10:17 AM
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On a related theme I've heard that earwigs were called that because it was believed that they used to crawl into people's ears. Two questions:

1. Is it true that they do wedge themselves into people's ears? (It sounds a bit like the spiders and sleeping mouths to me.)

2. Were earwigs named after the supposed/actual practice of crawling into people's ears?

ETA: I have found this link that seems to suggest that the answer to the second question may be 'yes'.

Last edited by Andrew of Ware; 03 July 2007 at 10:23 AM.
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  #11  
Old 03 July 2007, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
2. Were earwigs named after the supposed/actual practice of crawling into people's ears?
Andrew, this thought crossed my mind with Trish's photo challenge.
It was a very common saying when I was younger. So much so, that when I was growing up, earwigs where the least likeliest insect to stay alive in our household.
As for the OP and centipedes, I never knew they could bite, at least not from the ones I've seen over here, but I'll bear this in mind in future.

Must resist temptation to click Ganzfeld's link.
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  #12  
Old 03 July 2007, 11:39 AM
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I will never forget seeing the trace fossil of a two metre long centipede-like thing at Laggan on the Isle of Arran. I don't mind centipede but I would not want to meet one of those things!!
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  #13  
Old 03 July 2007, 12:54 PM
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Ponder

In Belize after the rain the centipedes would come out to play in their hundreds, many different species, writhing and rustling, even the Ghurkas warned to stay well clear of them - one we saw eating a toad, check out this bad boy to get the impression of what I mean. It's a YouTube link, and DO NOT click on it if you are in any way squeamish entomologically speaking - i've eaten live spiders without batting an eyelid and shaken scorpions out of my hair with nary a murmur and these buggers make me shiver
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  #14  
Old 03 July 2007, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
On a related theme I've heard that earwigs were called that because it was believed that they used to crawl into people's ears. Two questions:

1. Is it true that they do wedge themselves into people's ears? (It sounds a bit like the spiders and sleeping mouths to me.)

2. Were earwigs named after the supposed/actual practice of crawling into people's ears?

ETA: I have found this link that seems to suggest that the answer to the second question may be 'yes'.
I don't know from personal experience about earwigs and ears, but I did have one fall from the ceiling one time and try to hide in my navel. So I could see them mistaking a person's ear for a small dark hiding place.
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  #15  
Old 03 July 2007, 02:33 PM
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My friend Katie and I worked in the ER for a while- she did longer than me. The occasional person would come in with a cockroack stuck in their ear. I can't think of ANYTHING scarier!
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  #16  
Old 03 July 2007, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Four Kitties View Post
No, they don't burrow, and yes, they bite.

"No worse than a bee sting" is all well and good, unless you happen to be allergic to bees.

These are what I have around here. We kill them on sight.

Four Kitties
This is the only bug that thoroughly disgusts me. I always killed them asap, but that was before I knew the little b@$tards stung. Now I'll try to kill them sooner.
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  #17  
Old 03 July 2007, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Tea View Post
toad, check out this bad boy to get the impression of what I mean.
Great Gods! It's like something out of a horror film... I'll have nightmares tonight!
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  #18  
Old 05 July 2007, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
On a related theme I've heard that earwigs were called that because it was believed that they used to crawl into people's ears. Two questions:

1. Is it true that they do wedge themselves into people's ears? (It sounds a bit like the spiders and sleeping mouths to me.)

2. Were earwigs named after the supposed/actual practice of crawling into people's ears?

ETA: I have found this link that seems to suggest that the answer to the second question may be 'yes'.
I have always been very fond of earwigs, ever since I can remember as a small child. I also like spiders and it makes me mad that people try to eradicate them, they are beneficial. And, so i believe are centipedes. I think it is so arrogant of us to think we have the right to kill anything we do not like.
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  #19  
Old 05 July 2007, 09:51 AM
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Hello Kitty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
I think it is so arrogant of us to think we have the right to kill anything we do not like.
I'm not going to waste my time and endanger myself catching 6-inch poisonous centipedes and bringing them to the mountains or somewhere away from areas where small children and pets live. I respect your enlightened view but if they get in my house, they're going to be killed.
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  #20  
Old 05 July 2007, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by major accent View Post
The most common variety found in the house around here is a soft-bodied centipede with long, feathery legs, with a body from 1/2 to a couple inches long. They are usually tan or brown...
My sister and I always thought those were silverfish - a mistake wiki says is often made. Hey, ya learn something new every day!

Quote:
I respect your enlightened view but if they get in my house, they're going to be killed.
Agreed!! Especially if babyjava is screaming her little girly head off.

fran "creepy-crawly-killer" java
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