Bugs could thrive inside house despite keeping it clean, tidy

A recent research has found that bugs could get inside the houses from external environments even though the houses are kept clean and tidy. The researchers found that the location and size of the house, its carpets, doors, and windows have significant role in influencing the numbers and variety of pests.

Carpet beetles are among our tiniest roommates. Matt Bertone of North Carolina State University

A recent study has found that the bugs which live in our houses are influenced by our neighborhood as well as by features and comforts inside.

The research which was published in the Journal of Scientific Reports said that more bug species would be present in high-traffic, ground level rooms which are carpeted and fitted with many windows and doors.

Researchers of the California Academy of Sciences, North Carolina State University and the Natural History Museum of Denmark had conducted the study which shed light on the 20,000 years of coexistence of humans and the bugs.

Dr. Misha Leong, a postdoctoral researcher and the lead author said, "We are just beginning to realize –and study – how the home we create for ourselves also builds a complex, indoor habitat for bugs and other life."

The research team has also found that the pest preferred lower level homes and that their numbers decreased with increase in heights. Larger airier rooms which are carpeted were found to host more pests which come inside the house from the outer environments.

Dr. Michelle Trautwein, the Academy's Schlinger Chair of Diptera said, "While the idea of uninvited insect roommates sounds unappealing, bugs in houses may contribute to health in a roundabout way. A growing body of evidence suggests some modern ailments are connected with our lack of exposure to wider biological diversity, particularly microorganisms-and insects may play a role in hosting and spreading that microbial diversity indoors."

The researchers had also noticed that the pests varied from room to room. Species like booklice, fruit flies, and ladybugs were common in living rooms when compared to the bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms. Basements which are dark, damp and cave-like spaces had more spiders, mites, millipedes, camel crickets and ground beetles.

The bug species which get inside a house would start island ecology as they colonize and spread within the house. Different species from the surroundings could get inside a house and could start a complex predator-prey ecosystem. Dr. Michelle Trautwein said that the more numerous the entry points of windows and doors, the more diverse the community that thrives inside.

It was also found that the presence of pets, houseplants, and pesticides in homes did not significantly affect the pests as they are more prone to the influence of the outside environment. It was found that hygiene could avoid only a few pests like the cellar spiders and the web-spinners. So the researchers came to a conclusion that the bug communities would not be affected much by the cleaning patterns or hygiene of the people in the house.

A researcher said that 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.