I saw a centipede.

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I didn't get a picture, it was moving fast, and it ran under the tree . Found it on my Barbados Cherry while I was aerating/looking at my awful soil. I know they aren't harmful, and @sorce once told me I needed one, because this is occurring on a insect infected tree that I'm treating for scale, aphids, and fungus gnats. I attached a few pictures so you can see the bug food tree I'm trying to save & I have a few questions.

1. I saw one, so I assume there's a dozen or more right? It was small less than 1/4 inch.
2. Do they eat scale, aphids, or fungus gnats or do I have another issue?
3. Any soil advice? I did water recently, but the white fungus doesn't seem to go away.

As a long time gardener & country boy, I'm 90% sure it was a centipede not a millipede, and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to mention this to my wife. 🤫
 

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Shibui

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There are several creatures with lots of legs so you really need to be sure of the ID.
Real centipedes are carnivorous so they tend to be loners, in fact most similar species don't come in groups so don't worry about being ambushed while attending your tree.
I doubt that a single centipede will be able to control all the pests. Given most fungus gnats are deep in the soil the centipede will have trouble catching them all. Most predators don't wipe out entire food source anyway or they starve themselves so the best you're likely to get is some control rather than elimination.

Fungus gnats can be treated with chemicals but it can be hard to get them all at one go and most chemical treatments are toxic to some degree.
Peroxide treatment seems to be most effective and non-toxic as well. Need to drench the soil with diluted peroxide - check online for more details.
Be ready for the soil to bubble up when you treat it and don't panic because it goes back into place quick. Peroxide does not harm the tree. Sometimes a second treatment is needed to get any you missed first time round.

After that you'll need to change watering habits. Fungus gnats thrive in soggy soil which trees also don't like much so let it dry out more before watering. The tree will be happier and less fungus gnats.

Soil is high in organics but appears to still have good particle size so should be manageable.
It will soon be warm enough to repot anyway and switch the soil for a better mix.
 

TN_Jim

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If you have scale aphids and fungus gnats, centipedes or pesticides aren’t the issue, unless your saving it from another’s hands, you are the issue. Trees have their own defences, seek them out and find health and vigour. Any plant can have problems in the best care, it’s unusual to have three pest problems at once. Soil (bad), not enough light, and water regime is usually the problem, sometimes all three. Remove all scale by hand.
 

TN_Jim

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also..dunno Michigan -In the south centipedes will definitely bite you😂, almost have to be ridiculously provoked, venomous…millipedes can give you cyanide; that said, both pretty harmless and very welcome visitors. the big fat millipedes smel good, like almonds and vanilla
 
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There are several creatures with lots of legs so you really need to be sure of the ID.
Real centipedes are carnivorous so they tend to be loners, in fact most similar species don't come in groups so don't worry about being ambushed while attending your tree.
I doubt that a single centipede will be able to control all the pests. Given most fungus gnats are deep in the soil the centipede will have trouble catching them all. Most predators don't wipe out entire food source anyway or they starve themselves so the best you're likely to get is some control rather than elimination.

Fungus gnats can be treated with chemicals but it can be hard to get them all at one go and most chemical treatments are toxic to some degree.
Peroxide treatment seems to be most effective and non-toxic as well. Need to drench the soil with diluted peroxide - check online for more details.
Be ready for the soil to bubble up when you treat it and don't panic because it goes back into place quick. Peroxide does not harm the tree. Sometimes a second treatment is needed to get any you missed first time round.

After that you'll need to change watering habits. Fungus gnats thrive in soggy soil which trees also don't like much so let it dry out more before watering. The tree will be happier and less fungus gnats.

Soil is high in organics but appears to still have good particle size so should be manageable.
It will soon be warm enough to repot anyway and switch the soil for a better mix.
Thanks for the advice. Glad to know that centipedes are loners, and I actually used a mixture of H2O2 recently. I definitely need to learn the watering habits as I've only had it around six weeks now. It's my first ever purchase and like a rookie I unintentionally picked a bug infested one. I've been doing a soap/water/vegetable oil/rubbing alcohol for weeks The tree is doing better but it's still not aphid free. I've even switched it up and used a insecticide that was recommended in another thread.
 
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also..dunno Michigan -In the south centipedes will definitely bite you😂, almost have to be ridiculously provoked, venomous…millipedes can give you cyanide; that said, both pretty harmless and very welcome visitors. the big fat millipedes smel good, like almonds and vanilla
LOL! I love the Dead Milkmen. Saw them in concert before. Thanks for the advice, and yes I have problems, I actually paid good money for this problem too! 😄 Now off to smoke some banana peels and find my Burrow Owl.

 

rockm

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Sorry, I always get a laugh out of bonsai folks who get squeamish, shocked etc. with natural things going on in their bonsai pots. Centipedes are mostly everywhere. They're all predators. Their presence is a GOOD thing. They eat bugs that can actually harm your trees (and your house--coackroaches, ants, etc.). The bug is likely hunting down fungus gnats or other things that are likely breeding in the soil of your tree. The mold on the soil indicates the soil is staying way too wet.

You're in Michigan, so I assume this tree is currently inside? It looks like a privet?
 

Cajunrider

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I grew up in tropical climates. A bite from a centipede could be really bad. I will not touch one if it's bigger than 2".
 
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Sorry, I always get a laugh out of bonsai folks who get squeamish, shocked etc. with natural things going on in their bonsai pots. Centipedes are mostly everywhere. They're all predators. Their presence is a GOOD thing. They eat bugs that can actually harm your trees (and your house--coackroaches, ants, etc.). The bug is likely hunting down fungus gnats or other things that are likely breeding in the soil of your tree. The mold on the soil indicates the soil is staying way too wet.

You're in Michigan, so I assume this tree is currently inside? It looks like a privet?
It's my wife who is afraid of bugs, not I, but I understand what you mean. :) It's a Barbados cherry tree (Malpighia punicifolia (emarginata?) not sure if it's included in the Privet family, and yes it's indoors.
 

rockm

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I grew up in tropical climates. A bite from a centipede could be really bad. I will not touch one if it's bigger than 2".
It's all relative. I don't consider centipedes a problem. I've got them in my backyard. I am used to them, just like I got use to having these critters all over the place in Texas. This one came out of the mailbox with the water bill...
 

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Got warm enough today to resurrect some insects. I'm still battling Aphids so I brought in some reinforcements. Just two (Larry & Curly) , hard for me to get a clear picture, but Curly is hungry. He's going to be the size of a Frisbee by morning. :)


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So precise and through, it's fascinating watch Larry & Curly work, I'm feeling pretty good that this is working, hurt my shoulder patting myself on the back. :cool:
 

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Ladybug update, Sad to announce Larry passed away after a battle with the vacuum cleaner. Curly has been going strong eating aphids, and never leaves the Bonsai, and I'm now the proud father of ladybug eggs, proud yet a little leery since I read one bug can lay 300 eggs. Apparently they hatch in 2-10 days, and if anyone has any comments/advice I'm all ears.

Centipede update. I did see it a few days ago, but I wasn't camera ready, it's only like 1/4 inch long if that. Leaves me wondering how long they live among other things.

Here's a ladybug life cycle time lapse video.
Video
 

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