According to Michelle Trautwein, California Academy of Sciences entomologist, we are sharing our homes with bugs, a lot of them. You will find these little, and for some scary, creatures everywhere around your house, starting from your basement, attic, kitchen cabinets and many more places. The worst thing about these bugs is that there is nothing you can do to stop them from inhabiting your home in vast amounts. Michelle Trautwein spent five years traveling five continents in her efforts to comprehend the ecosystem of the tiny, crawly creatures that we share our home with.
“We’ve been sampling houses all over the world, and it’s true globally,” Michelle Trautwein said, according to The Washington Post. “Bugs don’t respect the limitations, the borders we’ve created. They just view our houses as extensions of their habitat.”
Michelle Trautwein and her colleagues were checking homes in cities surrounded by nature and also rural villages in different countries, including the United States, Australia, Japan, Peru, and Sweden. They are hoping that they will be able to visit Africa and Antarctica soon.
In 2012, the team convinced 50 homeowners in Raleigh, N.C. to allow them to check their houses for bugs inside and out. The team spent hours exploring every corner of each house to discover new species and see the sights of the ecosystems the bugs are building in houses. While searching, they placed everything that they found to be of use for their research in small plastic vials.
Their last paper was published on Friday. In the paper, Trautwein and her team explained that they are trying to discover what places and building designs are the friendliest areas for bugs to make their habitat. They made different scores for different buildings, including the degree of cleanliness, amount of clutter, the presence of pets, pesticides, and number of windows and doors. The team of scientists didn’t reveal the rankings of the cleanliness scale to the homeowners so that they wouldn’t feel annoyed or offended.
Michelle Trautwein and her colleagues were surprised to discover that “nothing seemed to make a difference” regarding bug diversity. According to the results of their research, each home contained an average of 100 species. The number of bugs found in each home wasn’t affected by how much the homeowners cleaned their apartments or houses.
According to their research, the vast majority of arthropods (insects, spiders, millipedes, and many others) preferred to live on the ground floor and in rooms with high traffic, especially those with carpeting. Bugs also preferred to live near windows and doors, “which makes sense,” Trautwein said, “since a lot of what we live with is just kind of filtered in the outdoors.”
When the team decided to test cold, damp basements, they discovered a population of bugs that rather prefer darkness. Those species are camel crickets, millipedes, tiny crustaceans, and others. When they headed down to cold, damp basements, the researchers discovered a distinct population of darkness-loving cave-dwellers: camel crickets, millipedes, and tiny crustaceans.
“We think of the places where big discoveries are yet to be made are exotic rain forests or the bottom of the ocean,” Trautwein said, according to the Post. “But there’s still so much we don’t know about the places where we live.”
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