Here’s a picture of the culprit. I was making the bed today and felt something large crawling on me. After a loud yelp and shake of my leg, this 7″ long centipede fell off me and quickly made its way across the room.
The centipede managed to sting me in the process. This Aloha hurts!
We’re careful to use insecticidal spray at the perimeter of the house every few months in case one of these guys walks in. In our tropical environment, however, it’s still possible for something like this to happen.
I always tell friends visiting the islands to check their bed linens at night for any unwelcome guests. This is especially true when staying in a private home or small B&B.
How a centipede stings:
Centipede venom is injected by a pair of sharp, specialized, hollow legs located just behind the head, which are attached to muscular venom glands. The sting is considered comparable to that of a wasp.
What should you do if you get stung?
Wash the area first then apply ice to reduce swelling (although others suggest a hot compress, which didn’t work for me). Take ibuprofen for pain and apply a topical antibiotic cream, followed by cortisone cream (if needed for itching). Most stings are self-resolving.
Where you’ll find centipedes:
These nocturnal, carnivorous arthropods are usually found outdoors in moist areas, under leaves, stones, bark and compost. When disturbed, centipedes run away quickly.
In a house, condo or even the occasional hotel room, they will conceal themselves in things like bed linens, shoes, laundry baskets, boxes and damp towels/clothing left on bathroom floors. They aren’t aggressive towards people, but will sting when threatened.
If anyone else is a member of the “Stung by a Centipede Club,” feel free to share your experience.