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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/bug crawling on arm of my counch...

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Question
the bug
the bug  
I live in NYC apartment and am very scared of bugs in general...which is tough but I keep my place as clean as possible. A few times a year I get the inevitable roach or water bug and once a silver fish which was disgusting.  

About an hour ago I found the bug in the picture crawling or slithering on the arm of my couch...and I have not seen this one before. It was brown with a hint of red...long front tenacles and a zillion little legs. It was about a half-inch in length and very skinny.

Could you please help tell me what this could be? And should I be concerned at all? Very odd....

Also, the picture is the bug in the toilet as I had a paper towel in hand when I saw it so grabbed it and threw it in the toilet. I usually am not that brave so was quite shocked that i did that.

Thank you so much in advance...Kate

Answer
Hi Kate
This is a centipede and is completely harmless. It is unusual for this species of centipede to be found except in damp areas and basements and it is nothing to be concerned about.
As you mentioned the presence of insect in the house is inevitable. We live in a buggy world and insects were here long before houses. Silverfish, ants and house centipedes are always going to be found and if we let up there are beetles that are going to invade our food supply.
I mention this because the phobia about bugs can be overcome. Would you react the same if a butterfly flew into your room?
When I look at this little centipede I am marveled by its structure and complexity.
Sorry for the lecture but I teach science to children and attempt to help them understand the place of insects in the natural world.

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Walter Hintz

Expertise

I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.

Experience

I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Publications
Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

Education/Credentials
B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

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