100 Species of Bugs Live in Your Home

Don't fret: Most are harmless, say scientists
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2016 10:00 AM CST
100 Species of Bugs Live in Your Home
Ants, spiders, beetles, and book lice are just some of the bugs scientists found.   (Matt Bertone)

You thought Asian camel crickets were bad. A new report in journal Peer J finds hundreds of bugs likely lurk in your home, including spiders, beetles, ants, and book lice. Scientists got down on their hands and knees and combed 50 houses in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC, picking up any bugs they found, to determine the diversity of arthropods indoors. They "found far more diversity than most people would expect," study leader Matt Bertone tells National Geographic. More specifically, they gathered 10,000 bugs from 579 species. If that doesn't freak you out, this probably will: Each home housed 100 species on average, per New Scientist, though one revealed 211 species. And less than 1% of rooms were bug-free. "That old wives' tale that you're never more than 10 feet away from a spider? If you're in your home, that might be true," Bertone says.

Every home contained ants, carpet beetles, cobweb spiders, and gall midges, which "rely on things we produce or have in our homes," says Bertone. About 98% held book lice, which eat mold and mildew, reports Wired. There were even some bugs scientists suspect might be new species. Since scientists searched carpets, floorboards, and shelves, but not behind walls, under heavy furniture, or in cabinets, they say more bugs are probably hiding nearby. On the plus side, most were harmless. "The residents were really surprised and often horrified that we found so much," says Bertone. But except for the occasional cockroaches, termites, and fleas, the bugs are "not dangerous and you won't see them unless you really look for them." Just think of them as "quiet roommates," adds a co-author. (Your home's dust contains 9,000 species of microbes.)

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