Have you ever been home alone, watching Stranger Things or listening to My Favorite Murder, and started jumping at the sudden hum of the refrigerator, brandishing your ice-cream spoon down the dark hallway to the bathroom? I have good news for you. We are never, ever alone in our homes. We all have other creatures living in our homes, no matter how scrubbed, swept, and sterilized our apartments and houses on the Hill may appear.
From the time that people began living inside dwellings, we’ve had other creatures alongside us. Some are imperceptible, bacteria, viruses, archaea, and fungi. Others, like insects and arachnids, are decidedly more noticeable. In 2016, a press worthy study by North Carolina State University researchers was published, reporting findings from an exhaustive, purportedly first-ever survey of the arthropods (invertebrates of the phylum that includes spiders, insects, and crustaceans) in our homes. Of the 50 houses the authors surveyed in the Raleigh, North Carolina, 100% had arthropods living in them. In fact, they had far more than anyone guessed, and they collected over 10,000 individual specimens representing nearly 600 species of arthropods, with homes hosting an average of 93 species, from 62 families.
Though I doubt this revelation eases your movie induced paranoia, below are five common house guests that you may or may not have even heard of, but may have been living inches from all your life.
1) Booklice (Order Psocoptera) — Unlike their blood sucking cousins, booklice like to chew rather than suck. Mostly they like to munch on fungus, food bits, and other detritus but they will also happily chew on the glue of our book bindings and wall paper and can in some instances infest food. Seeing a few of these opaque flattened creatures is nothing to be alarmed about, but if you happen to collect old books in damp places, be mindful. People often confuse book lice with bed bug nymphs or termites which are far more alarming. Continue reading