A public service announcement

Today we’ll be talking about bugs.

A few weeks ago, as I bent over to pick up Nathan, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. It took a moment for me to properly focus on my shirt sleeve, and what did I see? A nasty-looking, though tiny, bug, with what looked like two little claws.

Well, I didn’t want that near the boy, so I hustled into the bathroom to get rid of it. It was surprisingly tenacious, but I finally plucked it off and crushed it. In the struggle, I thought I noticed eight legs in addition to the two claws, but wasn’t sure. I sort of thought to myself, “Tick. Gross. Must’ve picked it up outside”, checked my clothes for others, told Meghan about it (“Doesn’t sound like a tick,” she said), and thought no more of it.

Fast-forward to a few nights ago: I get home, and the first words out of Meghan’s mouth are “I am so horrified.” Turns out she found another of these creepy things. In Nathan’s crib. We’re now both just a little weirded-out. It’s small — its body is a little more than a millimeter long, with arms of perhaps two millimeters — but it definitely has eight legs in addition to the arms, which puts it in the category of “arachnid” to us, which puts it in the category of “does not belong in the baby’s crib, no sir”.

After scanning the room for more threats, Meghan does a little research, and I have some hazy recollection1 that there’s a thing called a false scorpion. Sure, it could be a false scorpion: eight legs, two claws, but no stinging tail.

Turns out it is indeed a false scorpion, or pseudoscorpion. And — hallelujah — the wee beasties are harmless. (Warning: Those easily creeped out by bugs shouldn’t follow that second link.) They are even, apparently, beneficial, eating mites and clothes moth larvae and ants and booklice. This last prey gives them their other name, the book scorpion.

The moral of this story? If you see a weird spider-with-arms, or scorpion-without-a-tail, it’s probably just fine.

But they’re still creepy, and the one Meghan found got a free ride outside. Sure, they may be harmless, even doing good deeds, but I don’t want to know about them in my house.

  1. Geeky revelation time: This hazy recollection came from playing D&D in grade school. ↩︎