What is this flower and what is this bug?
September 20, 2010 5:39 AM   Subscribe

Are this flower and this flower the same? In either case, what are they? (I love them). What is this bug? I've seen 3 of them in my sink over the course of about 6 weeks. (I don't like them very much). Should I do anything about them? Thank you!
posted by Salamandrous to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
The bug is a house centipede - the most asked about critter on What's That Bug? Can't help with the flowers, sorry.
posted by clerestory at 5:42 AM on September 20, 2010

The flowers look like Zinnias to me.
posted by Solomon at 5:43 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Those flowers are zinnias. And that bug is a house centipede.
posted by at the crossroads at 5:45 AM on September 20, 2010

Regarding your room mates...
Scutigera coleoptrata is what they're called.
The first time I saw one, I thought it had come to Ontario via some produce from a warmer place. But, I've since learned that they are totaly local. The web page I linked to has some really good information.
I've never been bitten by one, my cats find them entertaining.
I tend to kill them when I can't easily capture and release outside.
posted by Ignorance at 5:50 AM on September 20, 2010

Yep, agreeing with Zinnias. They are hardy late summer flowers that are very easy to grow from seed. The like lots of sun.
posted by kimdog at 6:08 AM on September 20, 2010

Zinnias come in a huge variety of colors and sizes. They make good cut flowers, as well as lovely garden flowers.
posted by theora55 at 6:13 AM on September 20, 2010

What is this bug? I've seen 3 of them in my sink over the course of about 6 weeks. (I don't like them very much). Should I do anything about them?

As people have said, it's a very common house centipede. They are actually beneficial to have because they eat all the other creepy crawly bugs in your house. And they are harmless. I know most people hate them, but I quite like them and think they're cute.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:16 AM on September 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

House centipedes do bite; it's comparable to a minor bee sting in discomfort. They are pretty much harmless but they carry a high squick factor (I opened a cabinet and four or five of them came out, sending my wife scurrying from the room).
posted by DWRoelands at 6:25 AM on September 20, 2010

That bug creeps me out in ways few other bugs do. But I will try to keep it in mind that they can be beneficial...really, giant bugs in Nicaragua have nothing on this thing in terms of making my skin crawl.

It's completely unreasonable how I shudder at the site of them n my bathroom or kitchen.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:10 AM on September 20, 2010

They like dampness, so if you want to make them go away, dehumidify the area they're coming from.
posted by clarkstonian at 7:30 AM on September 20, 2010

We love house centipedes! Yes, they can be a bit squicky at first, but I've never been bitten, nor actually know anyone bitten by them, and they eat bugs that eat your house. I'm serious! In an apartment we lived in, we had a bunch, we found out they eat carpenter ant (something the house had had a problem with in the past), and our dog found them great fun, so we let them live. That year, our landlords (who lived above us) came down to give us ant traps, noting that they had a ton of ants, and we had none. No ants at all, our house centipedes were eating all the ants, and now we let them happily live with us, eating all our ants. (Our landlord was very impressed, as the house has always had at least a minor ant problem).
posted by katers890 at 8:29 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow, thank you all so much!

I think I will keep clearing the bugs out of the kitchen sink, but if they want to crawl around other damp places eating other bugs, that's fine with me.

I saw the flowers at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens - they were in a couple of different places but weren't identified anywhere. I'm really pleased to learn they're hardy and easy to grow - hopefully I have enough sun for them because I'd love for them to replace my current crop of weeds.
posted by Salamandrous at 9:50 AM on September 20, 2010

Interesting that most of the sites say the house centipedes are hard to kill. The ones I find in the kitchen sink in the morning just stand there very still and cooperatively while I descend on them with a paper towel to squish them (I kind of feel worse about it now that I know they might have another 4.5 years to go!). I wonder if it's because of the daylight, or the stainless steel, or do they crawl there when they're sick and old or something?
posted by Salamandrous at 9:55 AM on September 20, 2010

I've noticed that house centipedes sometimes freeze when you suddenly turn on a light.
posted by Ouisch at 5:26 PM on September 20, 2010

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