Study Reveals What Influences Bug Diversity In Our Home


Bugs coexisted with humans as early as 20,000 years ago. A study finds that a household's physical factors affect the diversity of bugs.

A team of scientists from the California Academy of Sciences, North Carolina State University, and the Natural History Museum of Denmark found that several factors such as floor plans and the number of windows and doors can ultimately affect the presence of bug species.

High-Traffic Homes Have More Bugs

The findings, published in Scientific Reports on Nov. 10, showed greater diversity of bug species are present in homes with high-traffic, carpeted rooms with more doors and windows. Large rooms that allow more ventilation give these bugs more access.

The survey also found that more bugs prefer ground levels. As a home increase in floor numbers, the insect type becomes lesser. Bugs that exist inside households reflect the exterior surrounding each home. In an earlier report, more affluent homes have more bugs. This is due to wealthier households having more plants and mature landscaping that are conducive to the growth of different bug species.

"We're beginning to see how houses can be a passive go-between for insects traveling through the surrounding landscape," said senior author Dr. Michelle Trautwein, who is also an assistant curator of entomology and Schlinger Chair of Diptera in California Academy of Sciences. "The more numerous the entry points of windows and doors, the more diverse the community that thrives inside."

Trautwein added that exposure to more bug species has health benefits. She clarified that many of the illnesses humans experience today are a result of the lack of exposure from a wide diversity of microorganisms.

For this reason, the researchers said that being "too clean," does not reduce the presence of bugs in the homes. It is true that cluttered areas can harbor more bugs, but the environment plays an even bigger role.

The Birth Of Superbugs

The World Health Organization is not taking superbugs lightly. A few days ago, the WHO released guidelines for farmers in an attempt to put a stop to the growing antimicrobial resistance that gives birth to superbugs. The haphazard use of antibiotics results to more bugs becoming resistant. Globally, one out of three antibiotics given to patients is unnecessary. Some even take antibiotics as a preventive measure against illness, which should not be the case.

Early this year, WHO released a list of antibiotic-resistant priority pathogens based on an intensive and rigorous research.

"New antibiotics targeting this priority list of pathogens will help to reduce deaths due to resistant infections around the world," said Evelina Tacconelli, Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Tübingen and a major contributor to the development of the list. "Waiting any longer will cause further public health problems and dramatically impact on patient care."

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