Centipede v. Millipede

Just as I had answered the phone this evening I saw what I thought was a very fast millipede zip across my carpet to the chair in my bedroom.  I figured that I would collect it and toss it back outside after my conversation.   The cat also saw it and played with it a bit.  When I went to look for it, it had disappeared.  I looked it up on the Web to verify that it was harmless.

Sometimes confused with centipedes, which are flat in cross-section, predacious, and fast moving, millipedes are blocky or round in cross-section, detritus feeders and slow moving.

Oops.  The insect was fast, hence a centipede.   Guess I couldn’t see all of the legs on the carpet.

Millipedes will not harm humans or anything in the home.  [However,] some species of centipede can be hazardous to humans because of their bite.  Although a bite to an adult human is usually very painful and may cause severe swelling, chills, fever, and weakness, it is unlikely to be fatal.

Great.  I’ve had a kissing bug (to which I am allergic) and a scorpion (whose sting was very painful, like someone had slugged my knee with a lead pipe) in my bed years ago (on separate occasions!)  Hope I don’t have to add a centipede to the list.


This morning the cat was at attention but not mewing as she does when a bird is in the birdbath.  Sure enough, a very large coyote was nosing around the fence.  But it didn’t stay for a photo op, disappearing into the dense underbrush.


I finally put more nyjer thistle seed out for the finches.  The rosy finches had stuck around but now the tiny goldfinches are back.

Watershed Management

My cousin’s daughter is crashing with me for a week while she takes a session for Water Harvesting Certification through the Watershed Management Group:  http://watershedmg.org/.

She brought goat’s milk and two dozen eggs from their chickens.  (You can see my grandkids with Laura’s animals in Phoenix in my blog https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/goats-and-chicks/.)

Her husband drove down Saturday evening for their fundraiser, the Second Annual Local Foods Iron Chef, celebrating local foods and Tucson’s culinary creativity.  Six chef teams prepared gourmet dishes featuring local ingredients from partnering local farms and markets — including a special secret ingredient that was revealed to teams the week before the event.  Those who attended sampled each dish – and voted on their favorite to crown the winner of 2012 Local Foods Iron Chef – and quaffed a selection of locally crafted beer and Arizona wine.  In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, the food and live entertainment (the local band Hey Buckos) had a Mexican flair.

Laura had opened a garage door for her husband that evening, but after parking he went to the front door and rang the bell.  When she opened that door she saw the javelina herd – thirteen, by my neighbor’s count – flowing down the driveway from the front yard, and one curious one going into the garage.  I was not home at that time and she didn’t want to report to me that there were javelinas in the garage, so she frantically shooed it out.

I had hoped to have Laura’s husband cut a large limb off one of my palo verdes, but he had gotten stung by a scorpion on his right hand the previous day, and wasn’t up for sawing.  However, when Laura returned after a short day (ended at three on Sunday), she said she’d do it.

(I’m cutting back limbs that are brushing the house, so that they don’t crash into what is fairly insubstantial stucco during a storm.)  Couldn’t let all of those palo verde blossoms go to waste, however, so made arrangement in three of my largest vases.

One of the women in Laura’s class, hearing that she was staying on the west side of town, asked if she’d seen any bobcats.  No…  Then on her way back through Starr Pass this evening a bobcat crossed the road in front of her, as if for a command performance.

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6 Responses to “Centipede v. Millipede”

  1. Kim Blair Says:

    I have those darn bugs with lots of legs too! I can never remember which is which. The dogs chase them. I hope they don’t harm the dogs! Thanks for the explanation.

  2. laura Says:

    So many fun anecdotes! And yes, a short day… only 7am-3pm. Not the average 10hrs. I’m glad we were able to get her (the palo verde branch) down with that collapsible pocket saw. Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it!
    I wonder which desert animal I will spy next… perhaps a coyote… or a mountain lion.

  3. Mary (mom) Wazlak Says:

    What a cool thing to be involved in the daily adventures. Must say I had no idea what a javelina was until I checked the photos in the December 2011 blog. Kinda like wild pigs on the east coast with a classier name?
    One warning about Laura…don’t hand her a sledgehammer without serious intent. She has been known to take out privacy fences without flinching.
    Can’t wait to learn more about water harvesting. Not sure if any of this can apply to brackish water, probably not, due to salinity levels, but there’s ways to hit aquifers here on the east coast at sea level.
    Centipedes are creepy. We had them in Richmond, VA. If they were swatted, their legs would still kick whether they were still on the critter or not. An elderly Puerto Rican patient of my dad’s enthusiastically encouraged me to visit his beautiful island but strictly warned me about centipedes there as vicious and very poisonous. 50 years later, they still have me at bay. The Chesapeake Bay, that is. Happy to remain at a distance from them and scorpions too.
    What a gracious visit and fun report. Thanks to you for sharing your thoughts, time and hospitality.

  4. Jim Says:

    Centipedes and millipedes are ancient animals. They will probably be here long after the human species has gone extinct. My experience is handling insects is that both are harmless if you do them no harm. The centipede will run along your arm and never bite; and the millipede will run along your arm and never exude its noxious chemical defense. The most dangerous species that ever evolved is the human. I would not live anywhere without a dog, to warn me when one is lurking about. And I would not hesitate to shoot if threatened by one.

  5. Mitch Anderson Says:

    Hey! I was at the Iron Chef thingy too! AND… the band – Hey Buckos was no other than our son Ryan and childhood friend Brandon. The third member is Jeremiah, a great guy who used to work at the Botanical Garden and is one third of the Foodie Fleet mobile food truck. For your cousin, our son was the one with the mustache. If she liked them if you ever need a band, they are ‘hire-able’ and very reasonable.
    I think your latest postings will greatly deter any visitors! Hugs, Mitch

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