Moving a Predator into Position

House centipede closeup (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

25 August 2022

Since moving to the 6th floor of a high-rise two years ago we have had no indoor bugs at all. Then, about a week ago, two extremely small bugs with waists and knobbed antennae showed up on the kitchen floor, standing there just outside the bottom of the stove.

They are not interested in water or sweets but only rarely attracted to a very tiny bit of grain or seed. They never fly. They just walk slowly — so slowly that it’s easy to catch one and put it in a ziploc bag (shown below).

Mystery insects (in ziploc bag) compared to a penny for size (photo by Kate St. John)

Finding two bugs was a curiosity but a week later finding 20 bugs every morning felt like a problem. I checked inside my food cupboards — no bugs at all — and gave my bug-ziploc to building maintenance who is checking for bugs in adjacent units. I’m not to spray in case there will be a multi-floor solution in the days ahead.

Meanwhile Nature’s solution to tiny bugs ran right up to me.

House centipede (photo form Wikimedia Commns)

This morning a house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata), a top predator of insects, ran toward me across the carpet. I screamed! Then I remembered he would eat those little bugs if I could just catch him alive and carry him to the kitchen.

Catching a centipede on the spur of the moment is very tricky. (They run fast!) I fashioned a piece of paper to enclose him and got him to run onto the paper but time after time he ran out the corners of the trap. Finally I enclosed him, carried him to the kitchen, and let him loose below the stove.

Centipede trap and carry (re-enactment photo by Kate St. John)

A top predator has been moved into position under the stove. I can hardly wait for the house centipede to eat those mystery bugs!

Learn more about house centipedes in this vintage article.

p.s. No, I did not add a centipede. I just moved one about 20 feet.

And I am wondering… Are the mystery bugs actually sawtoothed grain beetles (Oryzaephilus surinamensis)? If so they arrived in someone’s groceries.

(photos by Kate St. John and from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)

One thought on “Moving a Predator into Position

  1. I love that you screamed, Kate! That is exactly what I would have done. I just picture in my mind that you handle all of these things in such a calm manor! I am here in the land of the cockroach! Let me tell you those things are FAST!! I do hope they get rid of your bugs for you and your centipede gets so full from what is under the stove, it moves back outside!! Have a great day.

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