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American Homes Are Teeming With Bugs, Mostly Harmless

Update Date: Jan 20, 2016 10:06 AM EST
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An average-sized American house could contain hundreds of species of insects and crawlers, a new study reveals.

According to Scientific American, a group of scientists who set out to discover hidden ecosystems in houses found nearly 600 species in 50 North Carolinian houses. While the study did not discuss the impact of insets on human health, researchers said that vast majority of the arthropods are benign and could prove beneficial to humans.

"The majority of this indoor diversity (73%) was made up of true flies (Diptera), spiders (Araneae), beetles (Coleoptera), and wasps and kin (Hymenoptera, especially ants: Formicidae)," researchers wrote in the journal PeerJ.

To identify the insects present indoors, researchers visually inspected each room and handpicked specimens. Samples were collected from visible and accessible areas, researchers said, indicating that the actual number of species could be higher than their count as inaccessible areas of the houses were ignored.

"We think our homes are sterile environments, but they're not," Matt Bertone the paper's lead author said in a press release. "We share our space with many different species, most of which are benign. The fact that you don't know they're there only highlights how little we interact with them."

Researchers also found that many species which did not thrive indoors were outsiders.

"Many of the arthropods we found had clearly wandered in from outdoors, been brought in on cut flowers or were otherwise accidentally introduced. Because they're not equipped to live in our homes, they usually die pretty quickly," he added.

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