Spring Cleaning: Get Rid of the 100 Insect Species in Your Home

A new study from the scientific journal PeerJ might just give you that extra motivation you need to finally start spring cleaning. A team of entomologists examined 50 homes in the Raleigh, NC, and counted the number of arthropods — that just means bugs — in each home. The scientists concluded that an average of 100 different species of bugs live inside the average human home. And those bugs aren’t just crawling inside walls or trapped in window sills; they’re crawling all around us, in our carpets, floors, upholstery, and yes, even in your adjustable electric bed sheets.

In addition to common flies and spiders, the majority of arthropods are microscopic mites, like the common dust mite or book louse (don’t worry, it’s not that kind of lice). With the exception of dust mites, which can make childhood asthma worse, the researchers promised that these tiny creatures don’t actually pose a threat.

“The vast majority of things we found don’t bite or sting or feed on our food,” lead researcher Michelle Trautwein told NPR. “Most of them have no effect on our daily lives.”

Even so, does the knowledge that there are thousands of creepy crawlies in your home make you feel, well, creepy and crawly? Then here’s the biggest takeaway from the report:

NPR reported that “Homes with kids and pets tended to have the largest variety of these diminutive lodgers. And there were more different species of arthropod on lower floors of a building than higher floors. Common rooms, carpeted rooms and rooms with more windows and doors to the outside seemed to have a greater diversity of micro-guests.

“The vast majority of things we found don’t bite or sting or feed on our food,” Trautwein says. “Most of them have no effect on our daily lives.”
We’re going to go with the term “micro-guests,” because it sounds better than the alternatives. Interestingly, many of these micro-guests originally lived in bird nests, and only recently moved into the human home. If you want to avoid these uninvited visitors, or if you suffer from asthma, live with children, pets, or a spouse that doesn’t share your motivation for regular cleaning, then you’ll want to re-double your cleaning efforts.

That means it’s important to regularly dust, vacuum, avoid eating outside the kitchen, and apply pesticides as needed. Additionally, you’ll want to thoroughly clean your carpets, upholstery, and adjustable electric bedding.

Unfortunately, even though most of us spend 3,000 hours in our adjustable electric beds each year, most people only wash bed sheets once every 14 days, with a number of people going 30 days or longer. Yes, quality adjustable mattresses and adjustable bed systems should last for 10 years, but your sheets should be washed once every week to maintain freshness.

If you’re one of the 91% of Americans who say they sometimes or always wake up in the middle of the night, then changing and washing your sheets is a great way to find more comfort while sleeping.


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