Can you believe that the average North American home has over 100 distinct insect and arachnid species living inside?

That’s what one entomology team discovered when they visited a family home in Toronto. But, don’t be alarmed; the vast majority of species in any given home are nothing to worry about.

A mysterious world of wildlife exists right under your roof, no matter how clean or tidy your house may be. Your carpet is like a dense forest for beetles and dust mites. The dark corners of your basement or cellar are perfect hiding places for spiders. And your kitchen floors and counters? They are like open savannah for bugs who risk being crushed underfoot while on the hunt for crumbs.

“If you really look at bugs and take time to get to know them a little bit, they’re just spectacular creatures.” — Michelle Trautwein, Research Scientist, California Academy of Sciences

Your home is a rich and surprising ecosystem full of food and shelter for bugs. Instead of fearing these creatures, I would encourage you to learn more about them. Like this guy:

Pillbug
Photo: The Nature of Things, CBC

Pillbugs need moisture to survive, so they are commonly found in basements. They are actually not insects, they are crustaceans and breathe through gills. You may have seen one, tried to touch it or brush it aside, and noticed that it curled up into a ball. It is a survival mechanism — pillbugs do this when they feel threatened. Just know that they are entirely harmless and do not spread diseases or contaminate food.

There are many bugs that we interact with at home, even on a daily basis. Here’s one I’m sure you are familiar with:

Bet you didn’t know that fly vomit can be found around your house!

Remember: The bugs living in our homes are truly fascinating creatures. So go out and explore the Great Wild Indoors to learn more about them. If you are curious about the natural world, pillbugs, flies, spiders, ants, and other bugs can teach us many things about the environment.

Take a look around your house and let us know what bugs you find! Share your discoveries in the Virtual BioBlitz iNaturalist project or send us a tweet @BioBlitzCanada.