I’m always asking my wife, when on the web, not to click on any links that are obviously trying to pull your attention into their site. But who wouldn’t click on a link that promised to identify the most beneficial bug we have living in our houses, especially if they explain why? After all, it’s important to know these things when you encounter creepy-crawly things in your basement or, worse yet, your bedroom.

Certainly it wasn’t going to be termites, moths or carpenter ants. Hovering with my cursor over the link, I thought it might be one of the smart speakers the likes of Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, as they can be considered surveillance “bugs” since they are listening all the time. The Volkswagen Beetle crossed my mind, as it is quite a beneficial little bug, but, then, it lives in the garage and not in the house proper.

There was an outside chance it could be an article for women having trouble getting their husbands to help with day-to-day chores and might suggest how to influence or “bug” your partner into helping with household work. Surely that would qualify as a beneficial household bug.…

I clicked on the link.

My reaction was strikingly similar to Harrison Ford’s when he was playing the character of Indiana Jones. About to be lowered into an ancient tomb, he looked down and saw a gathering of his least favorite creature waiting for him and said, “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?”

Only this time it wasn’t snakes; it was my own least favorite arthropod and roommate: centipedes.

Deep down I have this major psychological aversion to centipedes; perhaps it’s because they have way more legs that I do or because they are so fast that I imagine they could crawl up my pant leg and down my throat faster than I could stop myself from screaming.

But it turns out the benefits of sharing your household with a few centipedes are about as numerous as their leg count. They avoid humans, make no webs or nests, don’t eat your wood framing and don’t carry fatal diseases. They hunt down silverfish, roaches, flies, moths, termites and probably other creepy things that certainly live under your bed. The article runneth over with praise and I was surprised that other points of endearment were not mentioned like the fact that they don’t play with matches, have no interest in possessing small-caliber weapons, don’t borrow your tools and never ask for a loan.

All these advantages have to be balanced out with the creepy/scary factor when you discover one of these guys in your bathroom tub. Since they can run faster than your heart can beat with a shot of adrenalin, it’s probably best to look away when you see one and maybe check your phone for texts while the centipede makes an escape and goes about its beneficial household tasks.

If you really like centipedes you will want to go to Hawaii where they have three species, but only one is big enough to steal the tires off your car. These are not the centipedes you want handy about your house; they may keep the household pests in check, but your pets and young relatives may disappear as well. Even though the official world record holder comes from South America, the unofficial “even bigger” centipedes (over 12 inches long) live in Hawaii.

On a recent trip we discovered one in the kitchen of our very clean and modern bungalow we rented on the island of Oahu. The story seems to get more dramatic with every telling but just let me say that after my wife’s gun jammed, I emptied a full clip into the beast with no effect. Finally my daughter, who apparently is on special terms with the creatures, took the box in which it was hiding outside to the garden, where it went on its scary way.

We eventually determined it was our fault as we had locked the door connecting the kitchen to the patio but failed to throw the deadbolt.

So centipedes are very beneficial and tolerable if you don’t see them — or live in Hawaii. Snakes have their good points too and even spiders help nature balance things out. If you can remember all that next time you are about to be lowered into a tomb, it should be no problem. Good luck with that.