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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:10 am 
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I'm not happy... Before coming to Hong Kong and Lamma (7/8 months ago) it was like: yeah, asian giant centipedes, kind of nice - whatever... Well this message is coming to you from 5.50am. I've just had my second GIANT CENTIPEDE joining me/us in bed within 5 nights. We're talking BIG DAMNED CENTIPEDES - both of them fat and at least 4" in length (I'm trying not to exaggerate - and I'm not). The second one (that just meet his end with a large metal nail hammer) just brushed past my hand at the top of the bed before my now heightened sense of awareness alerted me to its presence - just marginally before me and bed clothes shot 6ft across the room (Sorry, Kat - my partner). I've wasn't so lucky with the first centipede encounter. That one wanted get get more intimate with me - struck me on my quadricep at 4am Sunday morning while asleep and disappeared. Not a pleasant really effect, really. Big red swollen patch on leg weeping fluid with consistent bee/wasp sting level of pain for 18 hours or so. Having not been able to find it at the time, by 6.30am myself, an inability to sleep, and google had figured out what had done this to me. So, of course, I went back to bed and tried to forget about it. Shortly after, lying on my back in bed, my hand found it under my pillow (Kat had been in the bed next to it the whole time!). I composed myself enough to capture it in a thick t-shirt. And, then completely lost my composure... I apologize to any neighbors who saw/heard a NAKED CRAZED GUY outside in the area of Po Wah Yuen screaming/roaring at the ground while smashing at it repeatedly with a sandal... Asian giant centipedes - pretty tough bast**ds.

STORY OVER. TO MY QUESTION:

How are these f**kers getting in our G/F apartment??? I really don't know; stumped I am. I covered all the air vents/fans with mesh weeks ago to keep the growing hoards of mozzies out - that's a no; I've inserted a gauze into the drain in the bathroom - no way in there. So... Where? How?... Does anyone know if these things can pass through the aircon units??? Drains somehow? Our sliding doors are a bit old, and a bit shit made (consistent with the rest of the aged fittings in our place), but they seem tight enough and don't have the sufficient gaps...

ANY IDEAS ANYONE, PLEASE??... PLEASE??

I DON'T LIKE CENTIPEDES!!!!!

... ANYMORE... AT ALL.

Thank you Thank you.

Justin
(and Kat is very appreciative too - although they seem much prefer my big warm fat body to hers)


Last edited by justin.gregory on Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:24 am 
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Shouldn’t this interesting observation be in the Fauna and Flora section?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:17 am 
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Happened to me several times in several houses, mostly ground floor but upstairs too.

The centipedes normally live in leaf litter, so when they make their way into a house they find nestling in the bedsheets or under the cushions of a couch the most homelike.

They're amazingly aggressive and will bite at the slightest provocation.

I've been bitten on the foot in bed several times, and once woke up to find both myself and my wife had been bitten on the chest.

Anti histamine cream is useful to reduce the lump and itching.

Only thing you can do is strip the bed and shake everything out when you suspect one is there. Spray some insecticide under the bed. And/or set a mosquito coil burning.
Shake your shoes out before you put them on

They seem to be most active in the dark and quiet. In my last house I would be watching TV after midnight and see one scuttling across the room, and chase after it with a shoe and a can of insecticide if I had time to get it.
Then you notice that you are seeing small ones frequently, gradually getting larger, indicating that a batch of eggs had been laid in the house and now you have a family of them.

Only other suggestion I can make is to spray outside the door(s) every few days, and into the drains in bathroom and kitchen.
The centipedes are hunters and I guess are after insects or maybe lizards, so reducing the wildlife in your home generally will make it less attractive.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:04 am 
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Take a close-up.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:40 pm 
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All very good and sound advice from Alan. I agree with his advice; for example, shake out your shoes as centipedes and other bugs love to hide in there. I've seen a big beetle crawl out of a kid's show, spooking even one of our usually unfazed, nature-loving Lamma kids.

Yes, centipedes are one of the underrated wildlife dangers on Lamma. Being bitten by a snake is an extremely rare happening (only heard of a single case this year so far, cobra, very unpleasant but not lethal), but centipede bites are fairly frequent here. The clinics here just give you a painkiller and antihistamine cream as their standard treatment, similar in pain and treatment to a wasp/hornet sting, from my own experience and so many other Lammaites.

The aggressiveness, biting without provocation, is what sets centipedes and mosquitoes apart from almost all the other, usually non-aggressive wildlife on Lamma. Yes, that includes snakes who'll rarely bite without being threatened or stepped on. A good friend of mine (see HK Mag cover this week) was bitten at night by a centipede in the most sensitive part of his body a few years ago. Maybe not a great idea to sleep naked...

If even a massive, super macho guy like Justin (he'd probably jostle with a Burmese Python, just for fun) is worried about centipedes, then us wimps better take him very seriously!

It's quite difficult to keep centipedes out of your flat, we've taped up the drains in kitchen and bathroom (do you EVER need these drains?), but I still found one in our 2/F bathroom some weeks ago and it wasn't the first time. Last time, one of the big black ones was inside my towel I grabbed after showering. The shaggy-legged, several inches long critter landed on my bare shoulder, but might have been too surprised to bite me before I brushed it off. Full story. Here's my after photo:

We keep any doors and windows without mosquito netting closed, but these critters can climb almost any wall. I've seen them crawl on our indoor staircase and even on our 2/F balcony's ceiling. Their spring/early summer spawning season has been in progress for quite a few weeks now and you can see them swarm all over the island. Bathroom/kitchen fans are a very likely point of entry. Gaps under doors make entry easy for centipedes, ants, spiders, cockroaches and geckos, all very common and hard to avoid in our flats, even in brand-new houses. Sticky, thick foam tape under entry doors helps, available in all our hardware stores. Small geckos and even spiders are welcomed by many Lammaites as they hunt other resident pests under control and rarely bother us humans. Big geckos, I usually catch with a soft towel, not to hurt them, and relocate them outside. Their noisy rustling after midnight in our bedroom is not welcomed by Lamma-Por, and their droppings can be wet and messy.

I thought sliding balcony doors were reasonably tight, but we were proven wrong a few weeks ago during a flying termite swarm invasion into our living room, crawling under the closed sliding doors in this almost new village house. These swarms of half-inch-long "white ants" are harmless but chasing after any light source. Sitting in an outside bar or restaurant a few weeks ago you'd have seen them, almost covering up some street lamps and any outdoor light source.

But don't get me started on the tiny dots of black "sand flies" that got outside and inside every piece of outdoor laundry these last few weeks. Very hard to shake them out of your laundry... and they actually bite!

These are just some of the many "Back to Nature" pleasures of living on an Outlying Island. ;-)

You're most welcome to add your own stories, as an information service for new potential residents...

P.S. Here's one of the creatures Justin probably encountered, the more common species of centipede you'll encounter on Lamma. Yes, we have several species! Photo from Environment Places


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File comment: Photo from Environment Places
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 5:13 pm 
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Lamma-Gung wrote:
The shaggy-legged, several inches long critter landed on my bare shoulder, but might have been too surprised to bite me before I brushed it off. Here's my photo


The long-legged species (Thereupoda clunifera) isn't so aggressive, rarely bites, though it's venomous if it does.

The ones to look out for in your bed are Scolopendra morsitans, the "smaller forest centipede", and its larger cousin Scolopendra multidens, "urban giant centipede". Once I found one of those at least 20 cm long curled around the bathroom door lintel in an old house I was living in, gave me a shock.

Image Scolopendra morsitans


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:56 pm 
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Great advice guys! Very informative - I've learned a lot. Quite sure it was a pair of Scolopendra Multidens (bas***ds).

So... We're attempting a couple of further preventative measures now (in addition to my LARGE NAIL HAMMER). We took a trip today to the splendors of IKEA to buy a bed with shiny/smooth/tricky-to-climb long legs; and, we've stocked up on 'long-lasting super extra strength kill all' insecticide spray - liberally applied to roller door runners, fans, and drains.

And.. Thank you very much for all the CENTIPEDE pics just before I go to bed! Ha - I couldn't even reply to you both without one of your centipedes staring me down!

@Lamma-Gung - I'll tell me about my Aussie Carpet Python tug-of-war encounter next next time I see you!!

Thanks a lot!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:25 am 
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Just found a few of the very young, about 1-inch long centipedes swimming in my flooded mailbox, including one inside a sealed letter!
It wasn't so easy to clean out the mailbox while avoiding the aggressive younglings.

And a friend found an adult one in her dog's metal water bowl in the morning. It was as long as the bowl is wide. The poor doggie went thirsty for a while...

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:14 pm 
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I didn't know that they bite. At least in Indonesia I once found a very friendly (and tasty) one:

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:57 am 
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Don't let me disturb your delicious meal, but this looks more like an armoured millipede than a centipede, a leaf muncher and less likely to bite than Louis Suarez


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:43 pm 
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Yeah, you wouldn't get one of our local red ones to pose like that unless it was dead. They'd bite you a few times then scuttle off while you're still screaming.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:45 am 
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Seems like I read the story about the Lamma Centipedes just in time.

I will have to change my eating habits on Lamma . . . (I would rather be bitten by Louis Suarez, then those red devils)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:19 am 
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I'm a veggie who will rescue any creature that has found it's way into my home and put it back in it's natural environment, but the centipede, I will hack to bits on sight! I've been back in the UK for 7 years after living on Lamma for 17, but I still occasionally have nightmares about them. A little tickle anywhere on my body while asleep will still wake me up, adrenalin pumping, reaching for any kind of a weapon! The other half has learnt to tickle me a little less gently!

I can remember many a night in shared flats, waking up at silly o'clock with a blood curling scream "Centipede!" Everyone instantly awake and off the floor, boots on (checking inside before putting on of course!). Calling in to work at 9 a.m. because we still hadn't found the thing. Glimpses of course, as you lift the sofa and it streaks at warp 2 under the TV unit.

The worst night was while living in an old Chinese place. I'd got in from work off the last ferry, as always, half asleep. Walked into my bedroom, just to catch, out of the corner of my eye, a centipede dropping from the ceiling onto my bed (the thought of not seeing it drop haunts me to this day!). A nano second later the tiredness had evaporated, adrenalin and fight or flight were surging! I grabbed a shoe that was on the floor and slapped it on the creature. This shoe was doing nothing on the mattress other than making the fiend more annoyed, which it was communicating by flapping it's body around trying to bite me! One hand in the shoe, holding it down, the other flailing around for something that could possibly help. My eyes rested on the Tupperware box that contained my cereal that I hadn't (thankfully) had time to put back in the kitchen that morning. Box on, lid underneath, one trapped centipede! Gave it a little air, but not enough to escape! Put it in the living room and thought I would take it to work the next day as a lesson as I was working as an English teacher.

As the adrenalin was still pumping and I couldn't sleep, I did a few experiments, like you do! Kept it in darkness and then suddenly turned on the light, no reaction. With the light on, sneaked up on the box suddenly, arms waving like a mad woman, no reaction. Tapped the box or made a noise, full attack mode. Conclusion, they are blind or nearly blind. How could a blind or nearly blind creature keep 3 grown adults awake all night, lifting every piece of furniture trying to catch it!? Respect...........but still despise them and will kill on sight. I do feel guilty about that poor creature's sad demise. It was a great hit in all lessons and the kids learnt a lot, but as I was too scared to open the box, it died of the heat over an August bank holiday weekend in my locker! RIP.

As you have guessed, this post is offering you nothing other than sympathy! I will always miss Lamma but I will never miss centipedes!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:12 am 
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hkpurplecat wrote:
...the centipede, I will hack to bits on sight! ... A little tickle anywhere on my body while asleep will still wake me up, adrenalin pumping, reaching for any kind of a weapon! The other half has learnt to tickle me a little less gently.

Hahaha! I hope your other half is OK, not hacked to bits by mistake?
Is she very afraid of you at night and has taken to sleeping on the couch? :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:25 am 
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One even more frightening centipede sighting, recently by Annie Knibb.

This is the more harmless of the 2 species frequently seen on Lamma, not as aggressive and poisonous as the smaller species with legs of much shorter and similar length.

House Centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata: They seem to like bathrooms as I got one of these, about the same size, on my naked shoulder a few years ago, falling out of the towel I used to dry myself after stepping out of the shower. Our bathroom was on the 1/F. No bite, just a fright.

Google "house centipede" for even more of a fright...

Lamma can a dangerous place. I just slashed my elbow and twisted my knee falling off my bike going up Heart Attack Hill (Pak Kok - Tai Peng) last Sat, limping now with a bandaged arm. The nurses in the closed YSW Clinic were taking good care of me, after I biked there after the fall last Sat afternoon and rang their emergency bell.

I was also bitten by a big dog walking off the Aberdeen ferry a few weeks back. No provocation, no warning, suddenly out of the blue being bitten on my lower leg from behind while walking. My first bite since moving to Lamma, leaving just scratches. No treatment at all, but it took weeks to heal.

Both accidents were nothing serious, just par for the course if you love hiking and biking...

You need triple-shots for tetanus if you're living here, plus the occasional full course of antibiotics...


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:26 am 
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At least this one is toilet-trained.

Did you say cycling UP Heart Attack Hill?!?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:48 am 
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Only cycling up the very bottom of Heart Attack Hill, then getting off the bike because another bike with a huge load was coming downhill. It distracted me and I toppled over backwards while getting off my bike, sliding down the left side of the road, resulting in quite a few scratches.

Then getting up, cleaning myself off and walking, not cycling, up Heart Attack Hill and biking to the closed Lamma Clinic to get a bandage, the first of 3 tetanus shots and then antibiotics 2 days later when the doctor was finally in.

One of these days, I might manage to cycle up more and more of this hill, testing my fitness. Similar to getting to the top of Mt. Stenhouse at least once a year. As long as I can manage that, my overall fitness and health are still OK, despite me getting senior discounts (without asking for it, being quite few years too young) in some cinemas. ;-)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:49 am 
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Zep, thanks for the title of my Lamma-zine story, by the way:

"A Toilet-Trained Centipede"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scutigera_coleoptrata

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:31 am 
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Fascinating new Lamma centipede topic, getting almost 30 replies in just 10 hours.
The weather might be too warm now for these annoying critters to hibernate uninterruptedly:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10205107085770127&set=gm.859456494093105&type=1&theater

Many more Lamma stories, pictures and good advice about centipedes:

Lamma-zine centipede stories


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File comment: Centipede - by Mike Maclean
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