Bugging out: How your wealth attracts more insects

butterfly, insects
Different rooms, different insects.

A recent study links higher income to the diversity of bugs inside homes. Called the ‘luxury effect,’ wealthier people tend to have more bug types hanging out indoors.

This may not seem obvious at first, but the reason is simple. The richer you are, the more likely you are to own a bigger house and maintain a landscape, which supports more plants and trees, which cultivates more bugs, thereby inviting more types of insects into your home.

“More expensive houses tend to be larger, providing more space for bugs to roam. This is called the species-area curve, a concept originally  developed to help explain diversity in oceanic islands. The concept soon expanded to include diversity of all stripes. Basically, the more area there is, the more species can call a place home.”

The study also suggests that bugs treat the larger homes like they do trees, living in different rooms like they do on tree branches.

So, just imagine the diversity of insects bug lovers would discover at the White House, Lebron’s mansion, or your resort. But if you live in a city? You can throw the insect to income ratio out the window.

The Bigger Your House, The More Room for Bugs

Gamifying science: Discover new species through a bug-based social network

inaturalist bugs
Unidentified objects

Yesterday, I blogged about the ability to scan any color in the world using Cronzy’s app and use that exact color to draw in the real world. You can take a similar approach to help identify any of the world’s bugs.

iNaturalist.org is a social network for bug lovers, connecting both the amateur photography discovering new species with the teacher who helps identify it.

In 2013, for example, a man in Colombia uploaded a photo of a bright red and black frog. A poison frog expert in Washington, D.C., spotted it and eventually determined it was a brand-new species. The pair co-authored the results in the peer-reviewed journal Zootaxa.

The perspective in most classroom’s is that people use the Internet to waste time. However, when used as a tool to notice the world, the internet connects people and helps people learn.

“Because if you think about it, natural history really is a game. It’s going out there and trying to learn as much as you can about the things that you’re finding in nature.”

One of the iNaturalist’s users, Greg Lasely, has nearly 20k observations, has identified nearly 4k species, and identified almost 134k bugs.

As Seth Godin says, “produce for a micro market and market to a micro market.” iNaturalist is yet another example of the internet’s long tail — there’s a niche community for all interests in the social media age.

How trees help you de-stress

A recent study led by a University of Chicago professor of psychology demonstrates the positive impact of being surrounded by trees.

“Berman and his colleagues showed that an additional ten trees on a given block corresponded to a one-per-cent increase in how healthy nearby residents felt. “To get an equivalent increase with money, you would have to give each household in that neighborhood ten thousand dollars—or make people seven years younger.'”

The study did not stop there. It also turns out that the location of the trees also plays an important role. That is, the trees are more likely to calm you down if they are at the front of your home rather than the backyard where you are less likely to see them.

HONK HONK!

Professor Marc Berman also conducted a study 15 years prior that showed that walking through nature improves memory, attention, and mood more effectively than walking through the streets.

“Natural environments, on the other hand, provide what Berman calls “softly fascinating stimulation.” Your eye is captured by the shape of a branch, a ripple in the water; your mind follows.”

Want to feel richer and younger? Plant some more trees! Want to feel more relaxed and focused? Ignore the street heat and go for a walk in the woods.

In related news, listening to ‘pink noise’ while you sleep also increases memory.



Climb the mountains and hear their good tidings… the winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy.

John Muir

Get outside more.