Not too long ago a study concerning the bugs that we share our homes with had become popular on the internet. However, when it comes to the ecology of our indoor living areas, there is still not much that is known. No matter how clean you keep your home, there are certainly spiders and insects lurking in areas that you would never think to look. Surprisingly, indoor areas, or what scientists refer to as “indoor biomes” are not well studied. A recent study has shown that an average home contains around one hundred different creepy crawlies. These one hundred different bugs could not be more different from one another, and just about all of them are well adapted to indoor living.
The most common bugs that dwell within homes include booklice, gall midges, carpet beetles and dark winged fungus gnats. According to Dr Bryan Lessard, an entomologist with the CSIRO’s Australian National Insect Collection, the biodiversity within our homes is far more broad than many entomologists had probably assumed. Exploring an unknown realm scientifically can be fun, and in this case the unknown realm happens to be our own homes. Dr. Lessard, along with a team of American researchers, have been mapping the biodiversity of houses in Canberra and on Magnetic Island. Last March these researchers vacuumed floors and peaked into every nook and cranny of a home in order to find every bug they could. Some homes have as many as two hundred and eleven different bugs thriving in hidden areas. However, the average is ninety three different arthropod species per house. The most well adapted bugs to thrive indoors also enjoy eating what humans eat, such as cereal and salty snacks.
One of the uglier and all around more disturbing-looking arthropods that are commonly found within peoples’ homes are European centipedes. These nasty creatures have thin legs that look like wavy strands of hair. They are found in moist areas like bathrooms, and they can travel vary fast. These centipedes eat smaller insects.
Booklice are also common indoor insects. They are often found feeding on the same food that we do, such as rice or flour. But they also feed on mold. Wolf spiders are also common, and tend to frighten home-dwellers. These spiders do not build webs; instead they wander through homes looking for prey. Luckily, wolf spider are shy and their bites will not cause medical issues in most cases. On the other hand, there is the black funnel web spider, and these are a bit larger than wolf spiders. You know these spiders are somewhere in your home when you find untidy webs around your windows or light fixtures. These spiders are trying to catch flying insects with these lazily made webs. Although these spiders are shy, and are not likely to bite, they can still be quite frightening to those suffering from arachnophobia. It should be noted, that most bugs living in your home now are about as big as a pinhead.
Have you ever found a tarantula or another large spider in your home? If you have, do you know what the species was called or commonly referred to?