A recent study suggests that homes in wealthier neighborhoods host a wider variety of bugs than poorer residences.
Lead author of the study Misha Leong noted that other researchers tend to spend a lot more time and money on studies about the wildlife in far-away places, but few of them focus on the wildlife creeping in their own homes.
Leong, who is a researcher at the California Academy of Sciences, explained that technically we are never home alone since dozens of tiny denizens inhabit our rooms. Plus, the richer you are, the larger the population of bugs in your home is, the new study revealed.
A separate study shows that Americans spent 90 percent of their time indoors, despite their love for outdoor activities. And there are too few studies on the bugs that inhabit our homes and offices.
In 2003, a group of researchers found that wealthier neighborhoods had a more diverse vegetation than poorer neighborhoods. The phenomenon was scientifically dubbed “the luxury effect.”
Now, it seems that the luxury effect affects the biodiversity of arthropods i.e. bugs and spiders in rich people’s residences as well.
For the study, Leong’s team analyzed 50 private residences in Raleigh, North Carolina. The team said that they needed 30 minutes on average to sample each room. Researchers were not interested in the number of bugs in a room, but in the number of bug species.
They found that each middle-income household hosted about 60 arthropod species. In richer homes, that number jumped to 100, while in poorer homes the number was 50. The findings remained consistent even after researchers adjusted them for home size.
Study authors couldn’t tell why rich homes host more insect species than the less fortunate households. They speculate that the remarkable variety of plants in a wealthier home’s yard may make insects thrive both outdoors and indoors.
One researcher said that the recently observed situation could be considered another case of social injustice since poorer households are not only deprived of resources, but they are also deprived of biodiversity.
Leong said that it doesn’t matter how clean a home is since the biodiversity of insects remains the same. The researcher reassured us, however, that many of the indoor bug species are harmless.
The findings were reported Monday in the journal Biology Letters.
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