I’ve yet to see a cockroach in our new place, though my roommate Sam has seen one. I have, however, seen two house centipedes. If you read the Wikipedia article (from that link) you’ll find out that they eat all sorts of undesirable house critters, including the aforementioned cockroaches.
They’re basically not dangerous to humans, either.
However, as you can tell from the picture, they’re seriously creepy looking. They drive my instinctual “icky bug — kill!” urge quite strongly. Of course, it’s totally irrational.
Well, one showed up on the wall above my bed this evening. I was not amused. I did not want to kill it both because of the aforementioned benefits, and because of the Karmic* effect of killing. I also didn’t want to sleep under it. So I went over and blew on it. It moved a little (and quite quickly!), but then stayed still. I sat at my computer and read some news, keeping an eye on it. I just wanted it to disappear into a crevice somewhere so I wouldn’t want to kill it.
Out of sight, out of mind.
At some point, it disappeared. I know not where it went. I pulled apart my bed to make sure it wasn’t right behind it, or under the covers, and I am satisfied that it is sufficiently gone, and yet still prowling the house for cockroaches and flies.
* By Karma here I’m referring to the psychological impression that one’s own actions leave on the psyche. This is the Zen sense of Karma
ADDENDUM: The centipede came back. I gave up and froze him with canned air, and flushed him. Apparently they like wet places, so I’m hoping that the freezing didn’t kill him and he has happy hunting in the sewers. I mean that absolutely without sarcasm.