Creepy Hawaii Centipedes
Lucky we live Hawaii, huh? We don’t have any venomous snakes like my mother used to encounter – almost on a daily basis – when she lived out in the country in Texas for a short time. I remember one time when I and my family went to visit her in Texas. The kids were about ready to jump into her pool when they saw a baby rattlesnake having a morning swim. My kids ran for the house and the rest is just happy memories.
You won’t find venomous snakes here in paradise, but my kids (and my wife) still run for the house (or some sort of refuge) when they happen upon something that bites or stings. Something like the notorious centipede!
Centipedes might be considered the worst thing to be bitten by in Hawaii. Never fear, though, because centipede bites may hurt, but they are not fatal. There are over 8,000 species of centipedes worldwide and only some can bite. Here in Hawaii, we have three kinds of centipedes: Scolopendra, Lethobius, and Mecistocephalus. The good news is that the Scolopendra is the only one that bites; the other two are common and harmless.
Your probability of encountering a centipede is quite high in Hawaii. Centipedes are very common here and they really enjoy inviting themselves into your home, especially in damp places like bathrooms and kitchens inside the house. Outside, centipedes seek homes in wet and rotting wood, under rocks, in piles of leaves, in flower bed mulch, and stuff like that.
If you ever get bitten by a centipede, the bite will last a second or more, or until you beat the dang creature off you, because they generally don’t let go until forced to do so. The bite begins with a slow burning sensation at the bite spot. The burning sensation may grow to a couple inches in diameter. In some cases, the pain can be agonizing if bitten where you have a lot of nerve endings, like fingers or toes.
The good news is that – given no allergic or sensitive reaction – a centipede bite will heal in several days. If an allergic reaction or sensitivity occurs from a centipede bite – like a huge swelling of the bitten area – seek medical attention immediately.
The key to centipede control is ensuring there are no damp places for them to make homes in. We all need to rid our properties of leaf piles, stones and rocks, wood lying around, ground covers (like mulch), abandoned automobile tires, and hollow tile bricks. To prevent centipedes from going inside our homes, we need to seal all openings where the centipedes can get in (window screen holes, spaces in glass sliding doors, etc.).