- Experts surveyed 50 urban homes in North Carolina to find out more about bugs
- A greater number can be found in high-traffic ground level rooms with carpets
- Rooms with multiple doors and windows to the outside world were also favoured
- Tidiness was found to play a minimal role in the diversity of insects in a dwelling
A survey of urban households has revealed how the layout of your home could be inviting unwanted insects and arachnids inside.
Experts found that a greater number of bug species live in high traffic, ground level, carpeted rooms with numerous doors and windows.
The study also showed tidiness plays little role in insect diversity, with human behaviour having minimal impact on the kind of bugs that were discovered.
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A survey of urban households has revealed how the layout of your home could be inviting unwanted insects and arachnids inside. Experts have revealed a number of ways you can keep unwelcome bugs at bay
HOW TO BUG-PROOF YOUR HOME
1 – Avoid carpets and opt for hard floors
2 – Try to live above ground level
3 – Avoid homes with numerous doors and windows
4 – Keep your home dry and avoid standing water
5 – Make sure you use the right kind of outdoor lights
Researchers from the California Academy of Sciences, North Carolina State University, and the Natural History Museum of Denmark are behind the find.
The team surveyed 50 urban homes in Raleigh, North Carolina, to see what it is about a house that can lead to an influx of bugs.
This revealed that as floor numbers increase, fewer types of insects thrive.
Larger rooms, especially on the ground floor, or even below ground, harboured more insect diversity.
More varied types of insects were also discovered in carpeted rooms versus those with bare floors.
Airier rooms with more windows and doors offering greater accessibility to the outdoors were also preferred habitats.
Speaking to MailOnline, Dr Michelle Trautwein, senior author of the study, said: ‘We literally crawled around on our hands and knees and collected every bug we saw.
‘It was surprising to me that we found that whether a house was clean or dirty, whether the residents used pesticides or not, didn’t affect the diversity or the kinds of arthropods found in houses.’
The team also found that the type of bugs in your home also vary from room to room.
A greater number of bug species, including spiders (pictured) can be found in high-traffic, ground-level rooms with multiple windows and doors
As floor numbers increase, fewer types of insects thrive. More varied types of insects, like this carpet beetle, were also discovered in carpeted rooms versus those with bare floors
An analysis of core representative species, like booklice, fruit flies, and ladybug,s revealed how common areas like living rooms hosted more diverse insect life.
Bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms were less populated with these types of insects.
Basements also provided a unique habitat.
These dark, damp, and cavernous spaces lent to diverse communities of cave-dwelling insects.
While the idea of uninvited insect house guests may sound unappealing, the tiny critters may actually contribute to our health, the researchers say.
Dr Trautwein added:’If you have an infestation, for example, where there is really high abundance of say cockroaches or termites or something, that would not be good for inhabitants.
Experts recommend that you make sure your keep your home dry, to avoid attracting insects.
If your basement or other rooms are particularly damp, pesticide manufacturer Bayer Advanced recommends running a dehumidifier to help dry the air.
Dr Michelle Trautwein (centre) and her team surveyed 50 urban homes in Raleigh, North Carolina, to see what it is about a house that can lead to an influx of bugs
Standing pools of water also serve as both a breeding ground and drinking fountain for creepy crawlies.
Obvious candidates include sinks filled with dirty dishes and leaky taps, but leaky pipes beneath the sink or in the bathroom can also become problematic.
Outdoor lighting can also have a big effect on inviting insects to pay your property a visit.
According to research presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference last year, traditional incandescent bulbs are by far the worst option.
The least appealing lights to insects are warm coloured LED lights, that produce a yellow or orange hue, as opposed to cool blue or white light.
These type of lights perform better than commercially produced anti-insect lighting, according to ecologist Michael Justice, who has a PhD from the University of North Carolina.
Larger rooms, especially on the ground floor – or even below ground – harboured more insect diversity. Pictured is a paper wasp
THE IMPACT OF HUMAN LIFESTYLE ON THE PRESENCE OF BUGS
For the messy among us, rest assured.
The study findings revealed that tidiness does not play a significant role in insect diversity – except for the presence of cellar spiders.
These delicate, long-legged critters of the family Pholcidae typically spotted in damp crawl spaces.
While more cluttered areas hosted a greater number of these web-spinners, on the whole human behaviour played a minimal role in determining the composition of bug communities in the survey.
The presence of cats or dogs, houseplants, pesticides, and dust bunnies revealed no significant impact.
This suggests that our indoor communities are more strongly influenced by the environment outside the window than how tidily we live inside with Fido and Kitty.
‘It would be an overstatement to say that bugs in houses are a health benefit, but they do create a connection between our often sealed houses and the outdoors.
‘The hygiene hypothesis suggests that some modern human ailments are associated with our lack of exposure to outdoor diversity- particularly microbial diversity.
‘Bugs in houses may play a role in bringing outdoor microbial diversity indoors.’
The full findings were published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.