Richer Houses Home to Wider Range of Bugs

Richer Houses Home to Wider Range of Bugs

Richer Houses Home to Wider Range of Bugs

Lush landscapes draw insects to the best neighborhoods, researchers say

SOURCE: California Academy of Sciences, news release, Aug. 3, 2016

FRIDAY, Aug. 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- People aren't the only ones who like living in nicer neighborhoods. Turns out insects also have a taste for lush surroundings, researchers report.

An examination of insects in 50 Raleigh, N.C., homes found richer neighborhoods have a greater diversity of plants, which attracts a greater variety of insects.

Even individual homes without many plants in the yard are apt to have high levels of insect diversity in those neighborhoods, researchers add. That's likely due to features such as parks and communal landscaping that are often found in wealthier areas, as well as neighbors with lush landscaping.

The study was published Aug. 3 in the journal Biology Letters.

"The sheer amount of life thriving within your home -- under carpet, in closets -- is astonishing," lead author Misha Leong, a post-doctoral researcher at the California Academy of Sciences, said in an academy news release.

"Now we're learning that neighborhood affluence was one of the primary predictors for the number of different bug types -- mostly non-pests -- living inside, which really surprised me. We hope our findings inspire people to re-imagine the context of their homes and apartments within the larger environment," Leong said.

About 100 different types of arthropods (insects and their close relatives) are found inside the average home, but most are not pests.

"Even though we spend billions of dollars each year to control for cockroaches, ticks, termites and other infestations, there are still a number of overlooked, benign species," Leong said. "Don't panic -- most bugs aren't the problem roommates we make them out to be."

More information

Understanding Evolution has more about arthropods.
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