Sunday, September 13, 2009

Centipede, Millipede, 8/21/09

PS: they are all dead now, despite the fact that when we came home after a week of having the windows shut that the place was a mold factory … damp and gross and prompting even the most A/C-hating individual to crank it to 70ยบ … black mold starting its path on places on the toilets no one expects … white floury clouds of spore powder flying into the air when morning glory vines are pulled …

C: Loved loved loved the arcade game,
Until that roller ball would pinch my palms …

Feeling compelled to clarify on the alleged centipede-harboring-issue, lest everyone think I live in some kind of crawling pit of filth (and starting with how I sweep a lot but, as you know, can't deliberately kill non-lethal spiders and actually contemplated getting an owl somehow to deal with those mice that one time):

Centipedes are nightmarish and terrible things. The fact of their Jurassic past and tropical present keeps me from going to certain countries or geologic ages (sure, I can time-travel, why not).

I crushed a one at Mildred's a few weeks ago.

"My" "centipede" colony is contained in a flower pot where a baby jade plant is growing. They seem to be in various stages of life, and after I looked up both C and M, I find that there is a reason that a few seem to have more legs than the rest and the kind of fast-acting, wanna-hide gumption one comes to fear in centipedes: they are millipedes.

They all are kind-of tiny 1/2" by, oh, maybe 2 mm in diameter (like the mixed measurements?) … being "kept" only because I like to look at them and try to pretend I can get over my disgust. I am fascinated by the life of soil. Remember the little grey silverfish-companion bugs that lived in there? Now they have herbivore friends.

These friends will continue to grow, the Internet photos and data indicate, and apparently they migrate a lot, live "quite a long time," whatever that means, and can create 50-300 eggs, which hatch over a period of days. One site claimed they were incapable of reproducing indoors. I'd rather not experiment on this one; they might have adapted to new environments by now. If they are "greenhouse millipedes," they are an invasive species from Japan or elsewhere in Asia that are now ubiquitous on our continent. None of the photos really look like my creatures. They are still too small.

I don't see them trying to escape … except for a pile of dead juvenile ones I saw curled up outside the pot all in a cluster, which is how I noticed them and whose corpses I attributed to a spider hanging out around nearby around the bend (with no scientific proof, of course, and s/he's does not seem to be eating them anymore that I can tell; I can't find the arachnid).

It is not smart to think my will power and that very cottony and wide spider web encircling the base of the flower pot will stop them. The web seems especially well-designed to catch things that move and have wiggly mass like millipedes. But that would mean attributing both scouting and decision-making to a spider. That's some spider.

What's really stopping me is the fact that I am going to have to carry the thing outside (it's a 12-incher, full and heavy and crusty and full of spider webs and probably a spider besides — and who KNOWS what's on the bottom between the pot and tray???), remove the plant (hoping for the best) and dump it out.

All gross and tactile and worse than mere harboring. And, when my husband agreed to do it (easily), I couldn't let him take them away when we walked over to get it / them. Yes, insane. I wish I could tweeze them out without freaking out so that my Java finches might eat them. Only I don't know if they will. Mealy worms, sure (no, I don't buy those to feed them; are you kidding).

New lesson is an old lesson: you have no idea where that dirt has been.

Eggs are everywhere, and I've always liked science and am more pro-life than a lot of my actions would indicate.

But there is no way I'm having 'pedes running around my personal living space. There could be dozens.

So, relocation day is nigh.

Land Sea Monkeys could be the next million-dollar idea.

I am sad they have died.

(republished from Facebook notes 8-21-09)

1 comment:

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