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Researchers: Triangle homes crawling with 'dozens' of bug species

Posted June 26, 2012

— Most people don't spend too much time thinking about the bugs that live in their house, but like it or not, they are everywhere, competing with humans for both food and space. 

In an attempt to figure out what sorts of bugs and bug-relatives live in Triangle homes and why, researchers from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science's Nature Research Center and North Carolina State University are collaborating on a new effort to study the insects so often ignored, or in many cases, killed. 

The program, "Arthropods of Our Homes," allows homeowners to sign up and let a team of insect scientists go through their home for a couple of hours, collecting all the insects they find. 

Eleanor Spicer Rice, an entomologist who studies bugs for a living, opened her doors to researchers Tuesday.

"Insects get a terrible rap," she said. "Most insects are not pest species and most cannot hurt you."

During Tuesday's home inspection, researchers looked through every nook and cranny of Spicer Rice's home, checking corners, window sills and more to see what bugs call her inside-the-beltline house their home. 

Researchers: Triangle homes crawling with 'dozens' of bug species Researchers: Triangle homes crawling with 'dozens' of bug species

"We're trying to understand who's here and why they are living with us," Michelle Trautwein, of the Nature Research Center, said. 

The researchers hope to prove that insect populations inside homes are larger than people realize and diverse based on what is inside each home and how people live. 

After investigating six Triangle houses – they hope to visit up to 100 – researchers are already finding some surprises. 

"We're finding way more species than we'd expect in our homes," Trautwein said. "It would not be surprising to find more than 100 species today in (Spicer Rice's) house. There is so much to be discovered right here under our noses."

Spicer Rice, who understands the research team's affection for insects, said having dozens of species in her house isn't a bother. 

"I know what's good for your house and what's bad for your house, so we keep the good ones and try to kick out the bad ones," she said.


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  • diane7183 Jun 27, 2012

    I live in a slab townhouse. As much as I try to keep things tidy, I get palmetto bugs all time in the place. I find palmetto bugs on the walls, in my dishwasher and dead on the floor. These things are totally disgusting and appear to get worse with each year. I wish that summer never existed. At least, in the cooloer months I do not have these tremendous bug issues.

  • shotpusher Jun 27, 2012

    The EPA is banning chemicals that were effective, so look for more bugs and other problems we use chemicals for. We should limit the EPA, they are too powerful and they have not been elected to have this power over us.

  • kellypsnll Jun 27, 2012

    Moving to NC from NY, I come across new species of bugs and snakes all the time. Before I go stomping and killing, I go online to see if it a pest. If I see a wasp that I know won't bother me and is about as harmless as a bumble bee, I leave it alone.

  • bombayrunner Jun 26, 2012

    i never knew bugs lived anywhere they wanted. thanks for informing us. ... and lets remind everyone how many bugs are actually in their cereal each morning while we're at it.

  • meeper Jun 26, 2012

    Let me guess. Taxpayer money is funding this nonsense.

  • 426X3 Jun 26, 2012

    How many millions of years have insects been on the earth? How many years have humans been on the earth? Doesn't take a mathmatecian to figure out which species of animal will win this battle. MFS-Agree

  • SlowDecline Jun 26, 2012

    of the vermin crawling around the planet, humans are the most detrimental to the entire ecosystem...we just don't like things altering the ecosystem we're trying to build for ourselves...a sanitized, germ-free, immortal existence on a rock of organic matter...it'll take awhile longer, but we will lose this battle.

  • Geez Louise Jun 26, 2012

    "My home is getting an Ortho bath this evening."

    --If it comes down to bugs vs toxic chemicals in my house, I'd rather go with the bugs.

  • cabswife Jun 26, 2012

    I'm much more afraid of a house full of chemicals, than of bugs I really don't notice. You can call the Orkin man, I'll keep breathing my clean air.

  • Bill Lumbergh Jun 26, 2012

    most bugs are probably better than the chemicals used to kill them