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Arthropods Among Us

January 26, 2018

Researchers attempt to inventory all of the insects and other creepy crawlies in people’s homes for the first time.

Transcript

Matt Bertone False bombardier beetle - Copy

False bombardier beetles are found lurking around some North Carolina homes. (Matt Bertone)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Arthropods among us. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

You may think you know who’s in your own home, but you’ve probably failed to account for all the insects, spiders and other creepy-crawlies. Researchers now report in the journal PeerJ that they’ve catalogued a whopping 579 different arthropod species from just 50 North Carolina homes.

MICHELLE TRAUTWEIN (California Academy of Sciences):

We found no homes that were devoid of insects. And on average, over 100 arthropod species per house.

HIRSHON:

That’s California Academy of Sciences entomologist Michelle Trautwein, who says many of the flies, beetles and other species live their entire lives indoors; others are ill-fated tourists. And most are harmless.

TRAUTWEIN:

Biodiversity is all around us, not just in the rainforest or the coral reef, it’s right in our own backyards and even in our own living rooms.

HIRSHON:

The researchers are currently sampling arthropods in homes around the world. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.