DON’T READ THIS IF YOU DON’T LIKE TO LIVE WITH BUGS!
By Chris Williams on November 24, 2017.
Would you be surprised to hear that no matter how clean your home, you can expect an average of 100 insect or related species to live there? That’s not a total of 100 insects or spiders, that’s 100 different types of insects and other arthropods!
That seems incredible but it’s what a research team from the California Academy of Sciences has discovered. Over a 5-year period they have sampled homes in cities and villages on 5 continents. Remarkably, pests in homes around the world act pretty much the same, according to entomologist and team member Michelle Trautwein. “Bugs don’t respect the limitations, the borders we’ve created. They just view our houses as extensions of their habitat,” Trautwein said.
BUGS LIKE YOUR HOME NO MATTER WHAT!
Their latest research study (Scientific Reports, Nov. 10, 2017) involved 50 homes in Raleigh, NC where they spent hours on hands and knees thoroughly inspecting each home, searching for bugs. They were trying to determine which features of a home make it more “friendly” for insects, spiders, and other creepy-crawlies. They rated each home on cleanliness, clutter, presence of pets, pesticide use, presence of dust bunnies, and the number of windows and doors. The surprise for the research team was that nothing seemed to make a difference when it came to the variety of insects and arthropods present. No matter how a home scored on the factors above, all had an average of 100 different species present.
RESIDENT BUGS SEGREGATE WITHIN YOUR HOME
What they did find was that you could pretty much predict which species you were going to find in each part of the house. The fact is that most of these 100 species you will never see — mostly because they don’t want to be seen. They are hidden away in the less habitable parts of your home. In cold, dark basements, the team found a community of cave-dwelling creatures that love the dark: camel crickets, millipedes, sowbugs, pillbugs, to name a few. Upstairs in secluded and dusty corners and under heavy furniture are creatures that feed on lint, hair, and skin particles such as booklice, carpet beetles, even flea larvae.
With that variety of bugs in your home, there are bound to be predators to feed on them such as spiders, centipedes, and ground beetles. The good news: many of the bugs found in a home will not reproduce inside, they’re temporary visitors, not long-term residents. They wander inside to escape the elements (overwintering insects) or they are lured inside by bright lights or they are carried inside on firewood, pets, or plants.
BUGS MAY BE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH?
The takeaway is that no matter how much you clean your home, you’re still going to have bugs. If you need still more reasons to put away the vacuum, Trautwein believes that a variety of bugs in a home is probably healthy. Allergies and autoimmune diseases are sometimes attributed to that fact that our homes are too clean. We are not exposed to as many microbes when we are young and consequently don’t develop immunities. There’s no doubt that bugs help spread microbes.
If, however, you’re one of those people who just doesn’t want to see a single bug, we hear you. Give Colonial Pest a call today and let us help you reduce your overall indoor pest diversity!
[Source: “Just accept it: Our homes are irresistible to bugs,” Sarah Kaplan. The Washington Post, Nov. 11, 2017]