Dear Earth Hour,
You can suck it.

**  Tonight is Earth Hour!  For those of you who missed this Earth Hour post I did last year, here it is again.**

Hold on a second … before you begin reading this, go grab a coffee or a cocoa, some nice comfy p’jamas and settle in for a long, heartwarming story.  There will be love, betrayal and even a chase scene!  We’re talkin’ real Hollywood stuff here.    If you’re reading this on the evening of March 26th, 2011 you might have to do a couple of those things by the light of a candle or a glow stick.  Like a pioneer!  What fun!

You see, between 8:30 and 9:30 – for one hour – people are supposed to show their undying love for Mother Earth by turning their lights off.  And that is exactly what I did 3 years ago for our big bulbous globe.  I turned every single light off in my house …  for 45 minutes. More on that technicality later.

I did this, even though I didn’t have any children tugging at my skirt threatening to tell their teacher on me if I didn’t.  I did this because I wanted to do what I could for the greater cause.  I wanted to take a part in a candle lit global revolution.  I wanted to feel like I was in a Police video!

Also, this was something that could make me feel more highly evolved than all of my light burning neighbours, so that seemed like fun.

As the festivities got underway,  I took a drive around the neighbourhood to marvel at how everyone had come together.  Seems I wasn’t that much more enlightened than everyone around me. The streets were dark.   Even that guy a few doors down who never misses an opportunity to tell me  “recycling’s for suckers” every time I drag my green bins out to the curb had his lights off.  Of course, he could have just “retired early” under a blanket of beer cans while watching a Monster Garage marathon.

I got  home and fumbled through the dark into my living room.  I thought, it felt good to be taking just one measly little hour of my life to help the world, as I started a fire in the fireplace.  And it wasn’t just me … it was the whole world taking part to help save the planet.   It was like we were all giving her a great big, green hug.   Like something you’d get at a bar from a large, wobbly stranger on St. Patricks’s day but without the fear of being vomitted on.  I sat down by the glow of the fire and admired my neighbours dark windows.

I was already resolving to do this Earth Hour thing every year for the rest of my life.  Even if it was inexplicably  cancelled in the future – because of  people burning their houses down from lighting candles, for instance – I was gonna do it.

I love feeling like it’s the olden days, so this “turn off the lights” thing was perfect for me.  It made me feel like Laura Ingalls.  For some reason I got up to do something (quite possible look in the closet for a pinnafore) when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  Of course, being pitch black in the house I couldn’t see what it was.  So I felt my way to the closet, running my hands along the walls for guidance, so I could grab a flashlight.  There were 15 minutes left in Earth Hour so I didn’t want to turn on a light for fear of being ridiculed by my neighbours.  As I know I would ridicule them.

I made my way back to where I was and aimed the flash light in the general direction of where I saw something.  It was around the tablecloth in my centre hall.  I flicked the light on and immediately felt nausea that went from the tip of my head right down to my toes.  You know that feeling when you almost fall down the stairs and your feet start to tingle from the fear?  I had that.

There were CENTIPEDES crawling up my floor length table cloth.  Lots of them.  I ran to the nearest light switch and turned on a blaze of lights and screamed.  There were centipedes everywhere.  They were crawling up the inside and the outside of my tablecloth, they were on my stairs and making their way up the walls I had just run my hand across for guidance.

I really felt kindda sick now, my heart was pounding and my face squinched up into that Oh my God I see a bug look.  That look is usually reserved for a single bug so this sight really kicked the bug face into high gear.  I don’t know if you can actually pull a nose muscle, but I’m pretty sure I did it that night.

Turning all the lights off wasn’t only an “occasion” for me.  It was a full-on festival of fun for the centipede army living in my walls.  And they came out to party like it was 1999.  I’m fairly sure one of them was even wearing a little purple satin coat.

And just like that I despised Mother Earth.  I sunk to my knees, shook my fist at the sky and howled  WHYYYYYYYY?????. I can be very dramatic when given the chance.  I couldn’t believe after all my work, all my effort she had done this to me.  Betrayed me in this way.   Because it was HER … it was SHE who created these little monsters that were crawling all over my home (and they weren’t the cool Lady Gaga monsters).  THEM I would have accepted with open arms.

Now, I love every animal ever made.  Except centipedes.  Centipedes are the Devil’s work and should be sprayed with the most lethal thing you have in a can.  Which this night was hairspray.  With every light on in the house I ran around spraying everything I could, which wasn’t very much because they’re quite a fast moving bug, the centipede.  It’s in the name really.  If they ever did decide to go the Lady Gaga monster route they’d make quite a group of dancers.

I’m sure this was quite a site for the neighbours.  All of the street in the dark with mine lit up like it was on fire, and a perfect view of me running around with a can of hairspray, convulsing, jumping and screaming like a lunatic.  I was like the street’s personal silent horror movie.

After about an hour I had gone through 2 cans of hairspray and half a can of Raid that I eventually found.  My house was sticky and  had a quite a sickening stench to it.  And for the most part the centipedes had just craned their necks around, looked at me and scurried into a crack to further their party back home.  I couldn’t sleep for days.  Obviously 2 things would have to be done.

The next weekend I began the Great Centipede Purge of 2007.  I threw out, cleaned, and sprayed my 170 year old basement with the most lethal chemical I could find.   I’m not even sure if it was legal, but I don’t really care.  At all.  I now routinely spray my house for centipedes which is the exact opposite of what Mother Earth would want.  I really don’t care. At all.

I think you’ll be surprised to find out that I do still celebrate Earth Hour.  One can’t be completely selfish.  I mean Mother Earth is also responsible for the pretty trees and flowers around in the springtime.  And butterflies.  Which are a very friendly and cute group of bugs.   So yes, I still celebrate Earth Hour.  And I still turn all my lights off.   I just do it in my own special way.  From 2 to 3 in the afternoon.

81 Comments

  1. susie says:

    Karen, I hear you. There are some things that I, too, just won’t part with no matter how terrible they are for the planet. I recylce and reuse and make dolls from old clothes (true story) and I compost, but I will not give up nonstick spray that comes in a can. There is no better substance for preparing muffin tins and waffle irons. I used to dutifully pour organic first-press canola oil into a small bowl and use a pastry brush to prepare the surface. And I felt superior every time I did it. But that’s 3 steps, not including washing the bowl and brush. I’m over it. The stuff I use now is organic? So that’s ok, right?

    • Karen says:

      You bet it’s O.K.! There are VERY few people on this earth who can go whole hog with this whole Save the Planet thing. Woody Harrelson and Ed Begley Jr. are two that come to mind. (pause for thought there) The way I see it, as long as you’re doing something, you’re doing something. OOOOhhh! I should spray that on a t-shirt!

  2. Liz says:

    What you’ve really got to ask yourself, is why the centipedes chose Earth hour to come out and party?

    I mean, (and not to freak you out in any way) surely it’s dark in your house for about 6 hours every single night and those ‘pedes are doing their thing while you sleep, no?

    • Karen says:

      I know! I know! That thought is what led to the Great Centipede Purge of 2007. If they weren’t so stink’ fast it wouldn’t be so creepy. It’s like they’ve consumed rocket fuel.

    • dandy_rose says:

      Yeah, I don’t get it. They probably do that every night, Earth Hour or not. Are you not celebrating it because of post-traumatic stress disorder? lol

  3. Anything with extra legs freaks me out. You did better than I would have in that situation. I would have left, spent the night elsewhere, and called an exterminator immediately. Blech… I had to avert my eyes from the pictures of the bugs while I attempted to read the paragraph next to them… *shiver*

    • Karen says:

      Hah! I could barely look through the Internet for the pictures. I started convulsing. So I know what you mean. Ech.

  4. Langela says:

    Karen, were they actually labeled as centipedes? I used to have those. They were always in the sinks or bathtub. And they creeped me out. I had a hard time putting away dishes that had been left to dry in the sink because they were always under there. Waiting. Someone told be they were some kind of a water bug. That was also the house that I came home to to find a dead snake tangled with my mop on the kitchen floor. The cat finally did her job for once. I still shudder at the memories.

  5. Karen, the night you’ve just described is, without a doubt, my version of hell. Centipedes are my most feared and hated creatures of all time. I think I would have had to move. I just couldn’t stand it. Once I had a panic attack at the sight of one centipede. I can’t even begin to imagine an entire army. Frankly I don’t want to. Heebee-jeebees!

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, um … here’s the bad news … I have the exact same reaction to them. So you can imagine my horror. I actually feel sick to my stomach and sometimes … well I sometimes cry when I see one. Euch.

      • Once I discovered my house was infested with carpet beetles. A lovely species I was not previously made aware of. I sure am now. When you find a few wriggling beetle larva in the carpet where moments before you’d been walking carefree in your bare feet no less, that is when you lose your marbles. I vacuumed, re-vacuumed, dusted, re-dusted, sprayed and re-sprayed the entire house top to bottom until I was satisfied any living organism in a one mile radius was dead as a doornail.

        But if I traded that infestation for centipedes I’m sure I’d need to be committed. Permanently and without visitation privileges. I honestly had trouble getting to sleep last night after reading that post. You poor thing.

  6. Patti says:

    Holy crap. I can not even believe that you had to experience that and I haven’t stopped itching since I read that HORROR. You just scared me more than Christopher Pike ever did. I send you a huge pat on the back, you are SO brave! Now I will share my centipede tale.

    Living on my own, with my boyfriend sans car living in another town, I was chatting on the phone one night, laying in bed with the lights off (not in a kinky way) when I saw a shape above my head on the ceiling. My heart started to race, and I laughed and said “I thought I saw a bug but it’s way too big to be a bug, haha” and flicked on a light and THERE WAS THE BIGGEST CENTIPEDE I HAVE EVER SEEN! OVER THE HEAD OF MY BED. I started screaming “I need to call someone to come over here”, and my boyfriend urged me to take care of it myself. He walked me through getting the broom, stuffing paper towel in the broom, retrieving a fly swatter and wearing my favourite red shoes, while cradling the phone on my shoulder and standing on the bed. I started screaming and crying. “I’m not an athlete! I’m not going to hit it, I’ll miss and it’ll fall on me, or in my bed.” He urged me forward.

    I’m not an athlete. I missed and it fell in my bed. I started hyperventilating and had to call my brother to come over, pull my whole room apart and we NEVER found it.

    I didn’t sleep in my room for 2 weeks.

    -and just a thought – would it have been possible that maybe the centipedes were in the wood you used to light a fire?

    • Zina says:

      That’s what I hate the most…oh Lord, when you *can’t find them*.

      I don’t like centipedes…but I fear, hate, loath, and become hysterical over spiders. I have no idea why I behave like this over something that I am about a jillion times bigger. My theory at this point is that at some point in time in a former life, I lived in Australia and was killed by some poisonous spider.

      You can imagine my horror to find myself in a spider-infested house in a tiny town in the middle of the Australian outback last year. My partner went in our bedroom with a can of Raid, cleared the bed, sprayed around and underneath it, and then went and bombed the water closet. I made my friend (whose family’s house it was) promise that if we found any poisonous spiders in the actual bedrooms, we would get into the car and drive back to Sydney. She promised, laughing at my fear of spiders.

      Three days after we’d left, she admitted that she had gone into their bedroom with her husband, shut the door, flipped back the covers to get into their bed, and there was an enormous poisonous spider in the middle of the bed.

      The funny part is that she couldn’t scream and she couldn’t run away and she couldn’t do ANYthing she had the urge to do while her husband killed the spider, because she’d just made fun of me and she was afraid we’d have to drive back to Sydney, which was a six hour drive from where we were, in the middle of the night. (Her husband thought this was hilarious as generally she would have completely flipped out, he told me.)

      Bugs with too many legs. Bleeech. I feel your pain, Karen.

  7. Maven Koesler says:

    We get Tx bark scorpions in the house in the summer. I started hollering for something to kill them with whenever I spot one in the bathroom, under the couch, in MY BED!…etc.
    I tasked my husband to, “Go get a can of Hot Chemical DEATH!” to use on them.
    Personally, I think that would be a great brand name!
    (Yes, I’ve had one crawl across me in bed before. My reaction was not pretty. That said, we have not been stung so far.)

    • Stefanie says:

      $%#@! bark scorpions. I was living on a ranch in southeastern Arizona two summers ago and we used to get them in the house all the time. The one that got me was in the MAILBOX…the tightly sealed, couldn’t-possibly-have-bugs-in-there-unless-the-postman-delivered-them mailbox. I reached in without looking and got stung on the outside of my right thumb. Six hours later my hand was swollen into a lobster claw and I had no feeling in my entire right arm. It was four months before feeling returned to my hand and arm below the elbow.

      The big scorpions are ickier and their sting isn’t fun either, but those tiny bark scorpions are the WORST!!!

  8. kaelieanne says:

    OMH I laughed SO hard at this! Karen, I just love you! We could be BFFs! LOL I don’t think I’ve ever seen a centipede in my entire life, but if I see a spider I just go apeshit.

    When I was single, I would slam a book as hard as I could on top of a spider until someone came over, and then I’d ask them to help me out by wiping spider guts off my book. When my children were little, I put a bounty on spiders in our house – ten cents per killed spider and all my little boys ran to help me out whenever I shrieked! Now that they’re older, they roll their eyes at me and pretend that I’m just a princess… but I know they hate those dastardly critters as much as I do.

    We live in southern British Columbia, and in the fall our basement is inundated with “wolf” spiders. They are huge. My eldest son came to me with an ashen pallor the other day saying, “Mom, I just killed a spider the size of my FACE!”

    Anyway… back on topic. I love your blog!!

  9. Alisha says:

    Scorpions … OMF. I was telling my boyfriend about my irrational fear of scorpions and I worked myself into such a frenzy I started to bawl. I’ve never seen a scorpion outside of a pet store. Nor do I have the desire. Centipedes on the other hand, probably fall a short distance from scorpions in my book of critter hating. Did they actually look like those pictures you posted? Because those pictures made me puke in my mouth a bit. Thems are what nightmares are made of!

    • Jenn says:

      Yeah, they actually look like that. We had them in Michigan.

      They are quite elegant and beautiful – but they bring up every atavistic fear known to man.

      *shudders*

  10. Shauna says:

    Those are disgusting little monsters…. but I hate to break it to you, but you cancelled the lights out by “driving around the block” I think mother earth would have wanted you to use a bike… I’m just saying! Maybe it was your punishment?!? jk I would still be sleeping in a hotel if that was my house! AND FOR YOUR REASONS RIGHT THERE…. I’m glad it gets to -45 here to kill those SOB’s off!!

  11. Entomophobia. That’s me. To a T.

    And as such, I want to thank you for posting not one, but TWO pictures of those hideous looking cretins. And what made it worse was they were on opposite side of the page.

    As any bug-a-phob would do, I covered the screen that had the bug with a piece of paper. Yes, because using my hand would bring me much too close to the “ick” factor.

    It’s okay. Breathe. Relax. The picture is almost at the top of the screen. Who cares if you miss a few lines of Karen’s post … she hates bugs, she’s killing bugs. I get it. Then, WHAM. Another freaking bug picture. I thought about trying to hold two pieces of paper up and using my nose to scroll down the page, but it didn’t work.

    It’s a good thing it’s Saturday. I’ll need all day to recover.

  12. Julie shinnick says:

    I’m hearing you!
    As you may know I am in Australia and we have loads of poisonous things here, but my *shiver* *vomit* *panic attack* is … r…a….t..s..
    See? can’t even put the letters together!
    And I can’t even stand anyone mentioning them either…..
    This is apparently from a past life where I was thrown down a well and was eaten by them…..I am supposed to be over this now, but somehow, don’t think I am…..
    Not sure how I would cope with having a crawling mass of those little things running all over the place…..ikky!
    You are a brave woman! I wouldn’t have laughed at you if I was a neighbour….
    My sister in law goes all to pieces over moths!
    We all have our thing that makes us go nutso!

  13. Sharon says:

    One bug, two maybe, even three are no big deal. But an army? CREEPY! I was sure you were going to say this was an early April fool’s joke….but no….it’s real. I would have been in a hotel that night!

  14. Jo says:

    The number of legs on a being isn’t too important to me. What I can’t stand is NO LEGS! Like snakes! Nothing should be able to move that fast without legs or wheels!

    Actually bugs don’t freak me out that much. I don’t want a whole lot of them around and I don’t like to be surprised by them. I don’t like being startled. But then if that guy from the Old Spice ad suddenly popped up right in front of me I’d probably scream too. But I’d get over it pretty quick.

    I prefer wood floors to carpet; I keep my dry goods like corn meal, sugar, etc. in glass containers; and I throw handfuls of bay leaves into all my cupboards. But if the odd bug sneaks through I can live with it easier than a mega dose of chemicals. Let’s face it, if it can kill a cockroach — designed to last forever — I can just imagine what it is doing to puny me.

    Visually, the insect world is actually kind of interesting. There’s such a variety. Now try this — look at the second pictures above. Come on — you’ve done harder things than this! Pretend you don’t know what you’re seeing & look at that lacey pattern of legs along the sides. Isn’t it lovely?!

  15. MF says:

    I moved to Miami for school, found an apartment, and then the next day they were forecasting Hurricane Andrew. Got a call from a friend of a friend offering that I spend the night in a sturdier (but unbeknownst to me rather neglected) house; I was alone, scared, and most grateful. Over night during the storm telephone service was cut, clean tap water disappeared, the streets became undrivable because of the fallen trees, water was full of dirt. In 99% humidity and unholy heat (it was summer) air conditioning and even stand-up fans were out of commission, no appliances work (thank g-d for battery-operated radios for news); in the residential neighborhood there reigns a supernatural silence. And then the darkness of night falls, I’m in bed, and – I CAN HEAR the BUGS WALKING across the wooden floor of my bedroom. I HAD to cope (after all – I was stuck in the house at a time when nobody had cell phones and landlines were down, roads were blocked, etc. I turned on my flashlight to dissuade the critters. Junebugs walking on my bed. I made the brilliant decision to lift my mattress to see if this is where the Junebugs were coming from. VERY GOOD IDEA. What I found was a metropolis of scurrying cockroaches. They were living IN THE FILLER of the mattress. Needless to say, the 10000 of them and I spent a friendly evening together that I’ll never forget – and I couldn’t even call my mummy.

  16. Karen – your title gave away my solution when you said ‘you can suck it’. Yes, mother earth has a way of thumbing her nose at us, but now I fight back with central vac!!! Yes, those centipedes are fast, but you’ve got a fighting chance when you have great suction power to back you up for just such an emergency. It’s also saved me from a few stunned wasps (which I’m allergic to) in the fall and early spring. Though I wouldn’t suggest trying to suck up anything bigger than a dime (I’m sure it has its limitations!)

    Here’s my centipede experience (and a few other plagues along the way).

    I decided to sell my last house after putting up with a centipede infestation for 2+ years. I didn’t have central vac (or a rough in) and I didn’t think the repeated exposure to bug killing chemicals was too healthy for me. The last straw came when I reached for a bath towel and one was doing a jig on the towel; eeeeeeeek!!!! I swore I would do everything to avoid another house with unwanted guests, but alas, it was not meant to be.

    Wouldn’t you know it; the day I closed on my next house, I did a walkthrough with my sister. I got to the kitchen and there were mousetraps along all the walls; funny how they weren’t there at the open house! Oh well I thought, mice can be cute (if Mickey is any indication), so how bad could it be if the house only had a few mice? But just as I was entering the family room a centipede scurried across the floor. It was like they followed me there! I hightailed it out of there and refused to go back – for about a week.

    After a week, I mustered my courage and this time I took my parents with me for support. Just as we got to the upstairs level, there was an awful stench permeating the air.

    Turns out the previous owner had baited the attic too and a squirrel had gotten in: it met it’s demise after eating the mouse bait. It must’ve dropped dead within the week I stayed away. The guy I hired to fish out the body coudn’t assure me that he’d find it when he got there, but thankfully he did.

    It’s now nine years later and I’ve been in the same house ever since. Now that I’ve got the vermin and bug timing all down to a science, I’m not so surprised when I have centipede incidents, hear mice in the attic and get wasps buzzing around the windows in the house. I can practically set a clock to it all now. As long as my trusty central vac is at hand……

    • Karen says:

      Uch. I have central vac and trust me … it wouldn’t have done me a lick of good this night. By the way, for anyone who is interested in doing so … I installed the central vac myself with a kit from Costco. It’s surprisingly easy. Honestly it is. ~ karen

      • CJ says:

        ROFLMAO – centipedes frightening…installing central vac easy peasy

        Again ROFLMAO!! So my kind of gal!!

        • Karen says:

          CJ! – I once knew a “CJ”. He was in a band called the Ramones. But that’s another story. Nothing illicit. I didn’t see the humour in my centipede/central vac thing but yeah … I guess you’re right. 🙂 I’m an enigma. ~ karen!

  17. marilyn says:

    you would have to commit me if that ever happened to me, seriously…i abhor centipedes…just lock me up because i would lose my marbles

  18. Barb says:

    Eeeeew! Those bugs are “affectionately” called “Henry Bugs” at the school I work at. Rumour has it that a kid ate one once for $20. A live one. Makes me shudder even to think of it.
    I can stand to squash the occasional Henry Bug- and yes, they are lightning fast little critters. The thing I absolutely cannot even look at, much less be anywhere near, is a caterpillar. Tomato hornworms send me into a complete shivery state of ICK.
    My sympathies on your Earth Hour experience, Karen. I am not sure I would still be sane.

  19. amyjk says:

    centipedes—the worst thing EVER. i actually am interested by bugs and little critters of all types– spiders, mice, snakes don’t induce any negative feeling in me at all. i don’t WANT to share my house with them, but they don’t freak me out. centipedes, though– ugh, i am getting that tingly feeling and nausea in my stomach and choking in the throat just thinking about them. it’s gotta be the little hairy legs. and the way they undulate when they move. ugh, i think i need to go throw up now…

    • Karen says:

      Amyjk – Ditto. I was actually covered from head to toe in snakes once. (they’re very heavy) Didn’t bother me one bit. But these things? Blech. ~ karen

  20. Bill Grigg says:

    Personally, I’m not afraid of bugs, except the ones that actually crawl on me! But I can see how some people could be, and that’s rational.

    What’s not rational is turning off the lights to save the Earth by reducing carbon emissions, and then lighting candles (made of petroleum, I’ll wager), which releases…

    Well, you get the idea. And before you think I’m missing my Monster Garage episodes (I have a PVR), I recycle and compost. I just think playing at saving the Earth by turning off the lights for an mere hour is silly. I, and my two sons, have resolved to turn off the lights for eight hours and NOT burn candles. Not only that, but we’ll make sure all the TVs, computers and other electronic toys are also turned off, and we’ll do this not just one night per year, but every single night of every single year for the rest of our lives!

    Last night was our first attempt at it, and while my sons have apparently decided to keep their lights off for another hour or so, I’ve just completed my turn at it and I have to say that I’m feeling refreshed and well rested. So I bid you all a cheery Good Morning, and will be on my way!

  21. Pete says:

    I like how the Google auto-generated add at the end of the post is for Terminix (at least for me).

  22. Stephanie says:

    Oh shudder, goosebumps, shudder. That is just AWFUL! Some things are instinctively scary. I’m not a girly-girly-eek-a-bug kind of girl, but centipedes are deep down creepy. Mother Earth has a twisted sense of humour.

  23. Bev says:

    Are they actually nasty? Do they bite or do they just appear freaky? I’m not really freaked out by bugs unless as Bill said they are actually on me, even then I can stay calm enough to remove them. So I am trying to work out if my rapidly growing fear and repulsion to these critters is mine or being fueled by all the eeks and bleughs…

    My eek? Crabs. Totally irrational, based on an old nightmare I had as a kid. That once resulted in me sobbing hysterically and uncontrollably whilst attempting to literally climb my 5’2″ mother. On a beach in India, trying to escape crabs about the size of your thumb nail – there was hundreds of them. They were the same colour as the sand, so it looked like the entire beach was moving. She couldn’t hold me or even help as she was doubled over laughing so hard she was also crying. NEVER have I been so terrified. For absolutely NO reason. None. Nada. Zip Zilch. Zero.

    I was persuaded years later to sleep on a beach in Australia on a back-packing trip. I woke in the middle of the night to hear scurrying I watched a crab, run sideways up the side of my sleeping bag, stand on my chest for a while and watch … me the beach, not sure. I was frozen to the spot with fear, I couldn’t swat it, I couldn’t roll over, I couldn’t get up and run screaming up the beach to safety. OMG I wish I was better than this! Glad I am not the only one though.

    • Karen says:

      Bev – I think the reason centipedes terrify so many people is #1 they’re just plain frightening looking. #2 They keep living and their legs keep moving even if you cut it in half and squish part of it. and #3 They’re incredibly fast. You can spot one out of the corner of your eye and within a millisecond it’s GONE. Oh! And they only come out in the dark so whenever you encounter one it surprises you. There are a multitude of other reasons as to why they’re so ick but I really don’t want to get into them. I’m not bothered by bugs in general. These things though? ACK!

  24. Stefanie says:

    Hey, Karen? What’s the difference between a centipede and a millipede? I agree with you entirely – centipedes can only be the mascot of the Prince of Darkness – but around here, it seems people use centipede and millipede interchangeably to refer to the same unholy critters.

    (Good gravy, is it possible there is something CREEPIER and LEGGIER than the centipede????)

    • Karen says:

      Stefanie – I often find Millipedes in the woodpile outside. They’re more solid looking, like a skinny worm. Black. They are also extremely gross but they don’t seem to make it in the house.

  25. Roxana says:

    Dear Karen,

    Your “Mother Earth” story was the first post I read from your blog a year ago. I was surfing the web for solutions against centipedes (I think) when I stumbled onto your blog.
    I got hooked and here we are one year later talking about bugs again!

  26. Karen O. says:

    You think those house centipedes are bad, imagine a house full of cave crickets. We have them in Pennsylvania and if you have a damp basement, they will move right in. What’s even worse is that, as a defense mechanism, they will actually jump AT you if you get too close and startle them, to you know, scare you away. I’m normally pretty good about bugs, even spiders and such fascinate me. But cave crickets? They are disgusting and spindly and come from straight from my nightmares. They can all die.

    In case you want to shudder more… 😉
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_cricket

  27. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    Yeah, I think I keep living up here in the cold northern tundra of Wisconsin where the worst bugs I see are itsy-bitsy spiders…thank you all for generating a warmth of gratitude in my heart in this 30 degree weather.

  28. Elise says:

    I HATE HATE HATE this post and all the comments! I’ve had bed-bug issues before. Those are the absolute worst. I thought I was going insane. This brings back way too many memories.

    I have chills and slight nausea. I’m never going to sleep again.

  29. Pam'a says:

    I think now would be a good time to post a nice picture of flowers or kitties or something, to cleanse our mental palates.

  30. That was a really gross story. And I think it calls for moving up to Yellowknife where you can celebrate Earth Hour at the same time as everyone else, in full sunlight. #yaymidnightsun

    • Karen says:

      Nancy – I’ve always wondered about that! What it was like. Doesn’t it just make you want to stay up all the time? And when do you put your p’jamas on? I usually put my p’jamas on once it gets dark out. In the winter this could mean 6 o’clock p.m., in the summer 9 p.m. Do everyone in the frozen tundra just wear regular clothing all the time? I’d miss my p’jamas. ~ karen

  31. Ellie says:

    You know… those centipedes actually eat other bugs. They are considered a “good” insect to have around… not in your house… sure… but maybe in the garden or something.

    • Karen says:

      Ellie – Yup. I’m well aware of that information. Don’t change my opinion on them one little bit. 🙂 ~ karen

  32. Karen O. says:

    I felt compelled to come back to this post of yours after I flipped on the light in my bedroom last night to find one of these buggers scurry across my bed. What ensued next was something of a skin-crawling-ick dance while I figured out how to kill it without smooshing it’s disgusting insides all over my sheets. Needless to say, the bed was torn apart to make sure there weren’t any more.

    So anyway, just wondering, what was that horrible toxic chemical that you sprayed?? Because I think I need to go pick some up… 🙁

    • Karen says:

      Karen O. – OMG. You have my sympathies. That’s AWFUL. I use Raid House & Garden because it has the highest percentage of Pyrethrins in it. That’s the deadly stuff. Raid Spider Blaster also has it. Both of those products work. Spray them around the baseboards on the floor and around windows and doors. PLUS I have my house sprayed for them every few years by a professional bug sprayer guy. Sad, but true. Good luck! ~ karen

  33. Thrillho says:

    Karen,

    Just so you know, those centipedes are totally harmless and actually helpful, as they are predatory and eat other insects and fungus that would be more upsetting, I’m sure (like bed bugs, cock roach larvae, and mold in your walls).

  34. Ashley @ the handmade home says:

    You are stinking hilarious. I die every time I see a spider, and my heart sinks a little every time I hear one of my kids scream “a bug!” because that means I have to deal with it. When I was little, I found a giant centipede in our basement. Think as long as your foot and as fat as a snake. My mom didn’t kill it because she was afraid it would explode on the carpet, but she promptly put it outside…and I’ve never been the same since. Stupid things stink!

  35. Whitney P. says:

    Karen, I just found your wonderful blog today. Now that I’ve read this, it’s like we’re kindred spirits, or at least 2 ladies who feel environmentally responsible, yet will stop at nothing to obliterate a centipede.
    This post truly gives me the willies, and now I have to share my horror story. About this time last year, my little girl thought it would be fun if I took a bath with her. Thank God my husband was home!
    She and I got out of the tub, and I quickly wrapped a towel around me while I got her dried off and put her pj’s on. I kept getting this feeling (on the side of my butt, no less) that a tag was scratching or poking me. As I was taking the towel off wondering why a non-existent tag would be irritating my skin, that’s when I saw it… one of those horrific house centipedes.
    Needless to say, I flung the towel, screaming in horror, obscenities flying out of my mouth like the towel flew off my body. Yes, that ugly sucker bit me! It left a welt that was there for 2 days, and boy, did it itch! Thankfully my husband calmed me and my daughter, and best of all he killed it before it could scurry away!
    Just the thought of that nasty thing touching my bare skin still makes me want to puke! Lesson learned: always shake the bath towel and look at both sides before wrapping up in it!

    • Karen says:

      Whitney P. – I can’t even IMAGINE. CANNOT. I would die. I really would!! I had heard that they bite! I can’t even talk about anymore. I have to go now. ~ karen p.s. Glad you found my site! Hope you come back. 🙂

  36. SamiJ says:

    You may need to get a dehumidifier for your basement.

    Centipedes prefer to live in damp portions of basements, closets, bathrooms, unexcavated areas under the house and beneath the bark of firewood stored indoors. They do not come up through the drain pipes. Centipedes require moist habitats. If they are plentiful, there may be an underlying moisture problem that should be corrected.

    House centipede control consists of drying up and cleaning, as much as possible, the areas that serve as habitat and food source for centipedes. Residual insecticides can be applied to usual hiding places such as crawl spaces, dark corners in basements, baseboard cracks and crevices, openings in concrete slabs, under shelves, around stored boxes, and so forth.

    • Karen says:

      SamiJ – My house is 180 years old with a rubble basement. There isn’t much that doesn’t like to live down there. 🙂 We do have and run a dehumidifier all spring, summer and fall. I spray occasionally with insecticide. In fact, I may do it again soon! 🙂 Thanks for the comment. ~ karen

  37. Joy says:

    Anything crawling around in my house that should be outside gets sprayed with bug killer, or swatted with a fly swatter, or if it is just plain too disgusting, vacumed up. Another alternative is to have my husband come kill any bug I find. He’s good at that. I had to turn my head away from the centipede photos… I spied one scurrying across my floor one night–I almost puked, but got to the vacume in time and saved the night.

    • Karen says:

      Joy – I have centipedes again. 🙁 This house is too old, the weather is too humid and there’s nothing I can do about it. Other than SPRAY. Which I’ve done. Which I will post about next week or the week after! Stupid, stupid gross centipedes. ~ karen

  38. rusticgal says:

    have xperienced centipedes , the monster bugs in florida (yes you can REALLY hear them , they have thighs) …tarantulas , scorpions etc . …
    the worst of all is the palmetto giant cockroachs in florida but centipedes are terrible too especially in those numbers ..
    my reason for posting is to back up another comment about wood ..
    all kinds of creatures (some very dangerous) hide in wood & if you keep ANY in the house there is a good chance you may find yourself greeting a scorpion or worse ….
    an old friend has just died from spider bite …
    so the wood in the house is a no -no ..
    looks gorgeous stacked in fotos but it ain’t the reality ..
    if you need to have starter handy , why not try some pine cones instead & they look nice piled in a basket near the fireplace ..
    can be dipped in old candle wax ..
    very handy ..
    this article gave me heart palpitations LOL
    terrible fear of bugs ..ahahaaa
    nothing like confronting ones fears !
    keep the wood outside !

  39. rusticgal says:

    another suggestion for those who don’t have to worry about a pet ..
    rat poison is the only thing that works..
    don’t spray the chems ..
    use the small packets of rat poison ..
    put near a spot where you think the bugs enter/exit ..
    especially storage or other dark spots …
    it’s no work at all ..
    no inhaling fumes ..no freakin out ..
    the bugs will actually rip the paper packet apart so you will know for sure if they ingested it …
    works for all bugs …
    good luck everybody …LOL

  40. Bridget J says:

    I adore your blog! You are proof of what I’ve believed all along: Tough, spirited women are still tough, strong and brave … even if we SQUEEEEEE and run at the site of bugs like these.

  41. Mr. Army says:

    I was just searching how to rid my house of these creatures of nightmares when I came across your blog. I would go into shock if I ever saw an army of those monsters. I just killed a centipede that had to have been benching more than my body weight at least. It was so fat it couldn’t even run like the majority of the beasts, I’m just glad I had my vacuum handy. If there is one thing I fear out there, it’s these evil creatures.
    I’m in the Army and I’m still a pansy and half when those things start running. Bleh. You’re definitely not alone, and I am definitely investing in that raid stuff along with a sticky trap carpet.

    • Karen says:

      Mr. Army – Also a dehumidifier! Don’t know where you live, but centipedes LOVE humidity and can’t live without it. omg i hate them. ~ karen!

  42. Shelley says:

    Oh, sympathies. SYMPATHIES!!!

    Seen some shudderful bugs myself. Yep. My particular bug nemesis? The “water” bugs of Philadelphia. A eyeful of ’em. Black matte, bent leggy, overgrown. Clearly the most successful species of any kind in the neighbourhood. (Always-already) swarming up my very near neighbour’s brick front wall, above where she (always-already) placed a dish of cat food. Why did she (always-already) do that? We will never know.

    Btw, these bugs would also climb up through the drain during yr morning shower. Versatile.

    Anywho, many bugs of many ‘hoods later, they are still imprinted on my retina. Once yr nemesis bug infests yr mind’s eye, no spray can save you. *shudder*

    WE NEED A SUPPORT GROUP!!! Oh wait, here it is! Thanks! Love yr blog, lady. Totally cheers me up yo

  43. Terry says:

    I saw your post last year and then my friend reposted it again today. Unfortunately I started to read it just as I was about to eat dinner…. yes I recognized it, so luckily waited until dinner was done to re-read.

    My icky story is about spiders. I also am in southwest BC and have grown accustomed to checking the bathtub or sink before using to check for spiders. One distinct memory of my Grandmother washing dishes and when she lifted a glass full of water it had a large spider floating in it.. eeewwww.

    Years later I was living in an above ground basement suite with my baby son and started to notice some spiders around. The final straw was when one night in a half sleep daze I reached over to scratch an itch on my arm… well what I felt was a large spider doing the leg recoil under my hand…you know how they do that…. OMG!!! I grabbed it and threw it against the wall and it honestly made a thud!!! I knew then I had to do something. I researched and went out and bought all the chestnuts I could find and placed them along all the baseboards and at every window and door. It worked! The spiders were gone.

    I am happy to say that I now have two cats and if any critters decide to come into my house I just have to say ” Cali get the bug” and she makes short work of it (well maybe not short work, the two of them do play with the bug and I have to watch so I know when she eats it and it is gone. I do feel a little guilty about that, is that weird? But I convince myself that the bug has such a tiny brain it can’t possibly be feeling tortured right?)

    Well now I have to go because I feel like I am being crawled on and I have to find my cats.

  44. Sandra says:

    I’m still waiting to see what potato eyes have to do with a centipede – where’s the story with your mom chasing you around? Yeah, I’m not afraid of bugs. Do love to laugh though 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Oh it’s just a general fear of creepy things that could resemble a potato eye and move on their own. Like a centipede! ~ k

  45. Michel Desmarais says:

    I accidently discovered your blog while searching for a stitched bag solution. Love the site ! Here is my centipede story: many years ago me and then girlfriend had a country cabin rental… Wed go on weekends to get away from the city noise. One evening I was having my nightly cookies and tea… Took my last sip of tea and felt what surely were cookie crumbs in my mouth… I swished around… A little puzzled by the texture… By then the girlfriend was looking at me, confused, wondering what I was doing… So with my tongue I held the “cookie piece” against my cheek and swallowed the tea… Then brought the foreign object forward to my lips, pinched it with my fingers and slowly pulled out a 2 inch- long centipede !
    Thankfully it was as dead as a Norwegian Blue parrot… My gf’s scream of terror was priceless.
    I’m a guy so I somehow managed to keep my sanity, but it took many years before I could casually prepare a cup of tea without thoroughly examining the cup, tea bag, inside of the kettle (which I must still rinse out before each use)
    But your story is way worse and freaked me out.

  46. Vanessa says:

    I had a spider egg sack hatch above my head one time, and termites migrated through our living room once (happily, I was gone for that one and my husband had to deal with them). I find the vacuum cleaner with the loooooong attachment works best. But by far the grossest thing wasn’t a bug, but a slug, a great big banana slug. Which crawled in under the door, into the kitchen, I stepped on it, bare foot, in the middle of the night. Truly disgusting.

  47. Tara says:

    Centipedes are the wooooorst. Ugh. I’m having flashbacks to our invasion a few years ago just from seeing those pictures. I don’t blame you for using any chemical possible to kill those suckers.

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