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What Bug Is This?
updated: Jul 30, 2014, 12:15 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I have been seeing more and more of these bugs at my house on the east side of town in the last couple of years. I don't remember seeing them before that and have lived in SB all my life. Anyone know what this is?

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 540681P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 12:02 PM

It is a Silverfish, or also known as a House Centipede. Silverfish are starch feeders, they damage (eat) paper, fabrics, glues and other organic materials. They may also damage silk and some synthetic fabrics, but they usually avoid woolens.



 SBSURFERLIFE agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 12:10 PM

Are you sure? That looks a little different than the silverfish that are crawling all over my house.


 COMMENT 540690P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 12:15 PM

No, not sure, just a googlererer.

But look at the website I posted:


Sure looks like our little friend!


 COMMENT 540692P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 12:19 PM

Looks more like the house centipede that was discussed here a few weeks ago:



 COMMENT 540693 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 12:25 PM

It is a House Centipede, not a Silverfish.


 COMMENT 540694 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 12:32 PM

I've seen them in my home. Based on what I've read, House Centipedes prey on Silverfish.


 COMMENT 540697 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 12:43 PM

I've never seen a Silverfish that looks like that, but I just did a Google search images, and that variety comes up. But, on further search, it definitely is a "House Centipede", know as a Scutigeridae. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

What Silverfish & Centipedes Eat Silverfish like any type of carbohydrates and sugars. That means they'll consume paper -- a silverfish favorite -- natural fibers, wallpaper, crumbs and dried food. House centipedes are bad news for silverfish, as they're known to feed upon these smaller insects. Centipedes inject small amounts of venom into their insect victims and they occasionally bite people. Such bites usually just cause a local reaction of swelling and slight pain. If you see centipedes in your house, especially in large numbers, that means you've got other insects infesting your property. In addition to silverfish, they nosh on spiders, termites, cockroaches, bedbugs and the larvae of carpet beetles.


 SBSURFERLIFE agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 12:44 PM

OP- do you care to trade? I'll take a few house centipedes off your hand to take care of my silverfish problem.


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 01:00 PM

House centipede, yes. I don't think they bite people, though, not like some other centipedes. Wish we had some, lots of silverfish--in books, for sure! Especially books that have sat on the shelf for years, unread.


 COMMENT 540712P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 01:07 PM

681P: Silverfish are actually silver-colored and much, much smaller. These are House centipedes.

I think I've seen four postings now, on Edhat, in the past 6 months (or less) showing a pic of a House centipede and asking what it is.

They are super cool BENEFICIAL bugs. They EAT silverfish. (They also eat many other bugs, as D8 has written above.)


 COMMENT 540716P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 01:14 PM

681P here. Well OK, I learned something today: I now know what a House Centipede looks like. Silverfish bad, House Centipede good. I think I'll take the rest of the day off!!


 COMMENT 540811 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 04:34 PM

I'd rather encounter a silverfish in my home than one of those :(


 COMMENT 540860 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 06:35 PM

Here's my number one tip of the day.

If you ever want to find out what a bug is, do not, under any circumstances, use a "pest control" website for you information.

bugguide dot net

It takes some getting used to, but it is invaluable and is pored over by geeks like me who actually know what they're talking about and not someone who's trying to sell you something. Those of us who maintain BugGuide do it for love and to spread information, not filthy lucre.


 COMMENT 540895 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 08:46 PM

Hahaha let manning pest control know they are in good company. I read on a tree service website that a weeping mulberry was a regular mulberry with the branches grafted on upside down!


 COMMENT 540912P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-30 11:00 PM

MTNDRIVER: We've got 1,000s of books at my place. Remember when books used to be worth money? I have seen a few more silverfish this year and only one house centipede. I sure hope those centipedes are working overtime. Geez, but I love nature and natural pest control.


 RAINE5360 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 06:20 AM

What a coincidence! Saw one for the first time yesterday! Almost died! Looked it up on line and it appears to be house centipede. The giveaway was the numerous legs. (Shivers!)


 COMMENT 540945P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 07:28 AM

I wish they would eat ants.


 CORKY agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 07:40 AM

Yes, what WILL eat ants? I'm using a lot of Terro, which is pretty effective, but they are everywhere, including on me and BITING


 COMMENT 540960 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 07:55 AM

Silverfish or centerpede!!!


 COMMENT 541021 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 10:04 AM

If you have silverfish, get a cat. Our cat kills/eats them and our problem is gone!

Re: centepedes, I just squish them myself.


 UPONTHEHILL agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 10:50 AM

Off topic a bit, but when working in the garden and walking across the dead lawn I am being bitten on my feet and legs. The bites become very red, stingy and hot and then itch like crazy and have little bumps. I have never seen what it is that is biting. Anyone else having these bites? Using benedryl and going in the ocean helps. Who are the culprits?


 EDSUP agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 11:16 AM

@ UPONTHEHILL - Yuck! Sounds like the no-see-ums (biting midges) that attacked me in Florida. Do we have them in this part of the woods?


 COMMENT 541051 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 11:18 AM

Not a silverfish, it's a centipede, previous edhats on bugs. Simple Green kills ANTS pretty effectively, also orange oil, we use them both and they work immediately. Toss up is Ants or Termites, they vie for the same living space so when you have ants you don't have many termites and visa versa, they have wars against each other for your turf. Damage from ants could be much less, but both are very uncomfortable to say the least.


 COMMENT 541056 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 11:32 AM


My guess would be fleas.


 COMMENT 541076P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 12:07 PM

@uponthehill Yes! We have those too. They are not fleas, not that we could ever find with white sock, white cardboard, all the tricks they tell you to do to find the little suckers. My guess is some kind of mite? They appear only in the hot summer months and will get you in the grass, ivy, or just anywhere you stand still or work more than a few minutes. They bite at the back of the knees, top of the socks, waistband, etc. Flea bites itch, I'm familiar with fleas! But these are soooo much worse! I've tried to find out for years to no avail. We spray insect repellent on shoes, pants, socks and pants and if we're luck escape with a bite or two. My record on Saturday of yard work (I forgot to spray) was over 60 itchy bites. Sometimes they turn into huge, ugly, itchy blisters that guarantee me lots of space in the grocery line.

Wish I knew what they were and how to get rid of them -short of dousing the entire yard in some sort of poison. :-(


 COMMENT 541101 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 12:52 PM

Centipedes. These are harmless. Silverfish have far less legs and are curvy.


 COMMENT 541232P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 07:36 PM

CORKY: Pholcus phalangioides (cobweb spider) will eat Argentinian ants. Cobweb spiders are those delicate, long-legged (phalanges?) house spiders most of us mistakenly call "Daddy Longlegs." (Of course, how many can one spider consume?)

UPONTHEHILL: I looked it up. Apparently there are Biting midges (No-see-ums, punkies) in SB County. There have never been any in my yard, but my Bermuda grass lawn, when lush, has lots of birds voraciously hunting insects. When "lawn" is brown and dry, as it is now----no midges either.

Midges prefer damp environment, so your sweet little feeties and sumptuous legs must be on the menu in the more moist parts of your garden.

Flea bites don't feel stingy and hot. I would advise you start making your garden more bird and lizard friendly, perhaps? Don't read the site that says to pour on the DEET. Tsk. You don't want to unbalance your garden environment any further by using toxins.


 UPONTHEHILL agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 10:52 PM

Thank you everyone for your input. I have bird baths and have saucers of water everywhere for lizards and birds. I have tons of both critters but guess they are slacking on the job.
For those of you with the same problem, the ocean is a great relief. We have lived in this house for almost thirty years and never experienced this.


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