Putting Out the Welcome Mat for Household Bugs

From Drugs.com - November 10, 2017

Putting Out the Welcome Mat for Household Bugs

FRIDAY, Nov. 10, -- They are pickier tenants than you'd think: Bugs are ideally looking for carpeted, airy, ground-floor residences in wealthier neighborhoods, and pets and even filth are not really so important.

So finds a meticulous new study of the insect life in 50 urban homes in Raleigh, N.C.

One surprise: There was a greater diversity of insect species living in the homes of the affluent compared to those of low-income families, the research showed.

The study, led by Dr. Misha Leong, confirmed that humans' co-existence with creepy crawlies is complex -- and sometimes even beneficial to both parties.

"Even though we like to think of our homes as shielded from the outdoors, wild ecological dramas may be unfolding right beside us as we go about our daily lives," said Leong, a postdoctoral researcher at the California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco.

"We are learning more and more about these sometimes invisible relationships and how the homes we choose for ourselves also foster indoor ecosystems all their own," she said in an academy news release.

Leong's team documented the myriad insects living in all rooms of the 50 Raleigh homes. They found a whole world of predators and prey -- spiders, beetles, ladybugs, flies and other insects co-existing in biological communities.

Different rooms presented different opportunities for insects -- and were colonized appropriately. Not surprising, basements were perfect for cave-dwelling spiders, mites, millipedes, camel crickets and ground beetles, the research showed.

And busy "common areas" of a house -- living rooms, for example -- tended to have a more varied community of critters than bathrooms, bedrooms or kitchens did.

Bugs tend to much prefer ground or basement floors than higher levels, the study found, and carpets are their flooring of choice.

And in what may surprise and dismay avid homemakers, insects do not much care how much you clean.

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