Creepy is in the Eye of the Beholder

Oct 30, 2017

Halloween is a time when many people enjoy having creatures come to their homes in search of treats. But what about unwanted indoor visitors with six or more legs? Here are three types of creatures that might bring a chill to your spine if you find them in your house.

Spiders

Many people in the world fear spiders. Sure, they might be creepy, but in general, spiders are beneficial because they feed on pest insects both inside and outside the home. One spider that is cause for concern in California is the black widow. Wait, what? Not the brown recluse? Nope. Read the Pest Notes: Brown Recluse and Other Recluse Spiders to find out why the brown recluse is not a spider to be worried about in California.

Centipedes and Millipedes

Too many legs? Centipedes and millipedes do have lots of legs. Although both these creepy arthropods may wander indoors, you're more likely to come in contact with the house centipede, which hunts flies, cockroaches, and other pests. Some centipedes can bite, but do so only if provoked.

Millipedes eat organic matter and are mostly found outdoors around decaying plant material. If millipedes become too numerous in the garden, they can become a pest. They don't bite, but some species may exude a defensive liquid that can irritate skin. Learn more by reading the UC IPM Pest Notes: Millipedes and Centipedes.

Jerusalem Crickets

These alien-looking creatures can freak some people out, but they really don't do much damage and are hardly ever found indoors. Jerusalem crickets (also frequently referred to as “potato bugs”) eat other insects and are sometimes pests of potatoes.

Now that you know a little more about some of the many-legged crawlers you find around the house, maybe you won't find them to be so creepy the next time you see one.


By Anne Schellman
Author - UC Master Gardener Coordinator