Arthropod Diversity Found In US Houses - How Dangerous Is It?

By Rodney Rafols , Nov 05, 2016 12:30 AM EDT

People usually think that their homes are clean and there are no living organisms around. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Very small organisms thrive in homes, unknown to many people. Recently arthropod diversity has been studied in U.S. homes.

People would be surprised that there are tiny organisms living in their homes. Even the cleanest of homes have them. That has been found out in a recent study made by researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and North Carolina State University.

To conduct the study, 700 households from 48 states have participated in it. Participants used swabs to collect dust in their homes. The samples were then sealed and sent to the research team. A high throughput DNA analysis has been used to identify the organisms found in the samples.

"We found more than 600 genera of arthropods represented inside people's homes," Anne Madden, lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher from North Carolina State University said. Also found in the samples were small species of crabs and shrimps. The samples show that there is a wide variety of small organisms inside homes.

Some variables might explain why there are such organisms inside homes, NC State News said in its report. The presence of pets such as cats and dogs might be one reason why such organisms are present. The home might be in a rural area, where such organisms might be more likely. Madden did state that diversity doesn't necessarily mean an abundance of such organisms.

The study did show that having pets in homes has been more of a factor than climate is. Madden said that the team was expecting climate to be a factor, but it turned out that pet ownership has more role in it. Climate still did have a part in determining the range of certain species of arthropods, according to Science Daily. Certain species have extended their range, which is the case for the Turkestan cockroach.

More research would be made regarding the presence of small organisms living in houses and apartments. Madden said that the research has barely scratched the surface about the presence of organisms inside homes. It does show that arthropod diversity studied in U.S. homes means our homes is a dynamic microenvironment in itself. In another study, it has been shown that worms teach their babies to survive under famine.

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