Unusual bug 'terrifying' Aucklanders

There has been a bug invasion across New Zealand this summer - and one multi-legged monstrosity in particular has been spotted sneaking into homes.

But is it a friendly creepy-crawly - or as The Project host Jesse Mulligan calls it, "a harbinger of death"?

Over the weekend there were two sightings of the creature that sent some Auckland community pages into a bug-bashing frenzy. One person shared her reaction in a video that went viral.

"So on Sunday I was cleaning my room and I like, moved my bedside table, and this massive bug-thing with like a million legs came running out at like, full speed," said Sophie Baird, who was left traumatised by her encounter with the bug.

"I've never seen anything like that in my life, and I was like, 'what the heck is that?' and I just burst into tears coz I was so scared."

Her fear was shared by multiple people, who warned she needed to take drastic action to survive.

"Burn your house down now!" advised one commenter.

"Baby alien!" screamed another.

But as keen-eyed bug enthusiasts were quick to point out, this multi-legged monster isn't the extra-terrestrial interloper it might appear to be.

Appearing on The Project on Tuesday on explain what exactly it is, bug expert Ruud Kleinpaste said it is one of his favourites.

"We call it, vernacularly speaking, the house centipede," Mr Kleinpaste told Mulligan.

They prefer to live outside in damp places like compost heaps where there's lots of food. However, they sometimes come inside to places like bathrooms and laundries where they hunt things like cockroaches.

While they aren't dangerous to humans they do carry a large pair of poison-claws which can deliver a nip comparable to the pain of a bee sting.

Fortunately, Mr Kleinpaste says you're safe "unless you look like a cockroach" - although this still might worry some people.

"They're actually on your side," he says. "Don't be afraid. It's all good."

If you do find one, the best thing is to catch it and take it back outside.

"You get a jar, put it over the top, slide a cardboard under the opening so the creature goes inside, turn it upside down, take it outside and let it go or put it near your gully trap where they really like to hunt," Mr Kleinpaste says.

There's good news for South Islanders - at this stage it's only been seen around the Auckland region.