Urban Entomology

Urbanization is preceding at a rapid pace throughout the world. Large cities are becoming even larger, new land is being taken over, and densities within old metropolitan centers are ever-increasing. Such growth forces contact between certain kinds of insects that inhabit homes and buildings and those whose natural habitats are being invaded. The study of this phenomenon is the relatively recently established field of urban entomology (Ebeling 1975, Frankie and Koehler 1983).

Negative effects of urban insects are many and depend on the types of environ ment they occupy, including private dwellings, restaurants and other food handling establishments, warehouses, manufacturing plants, and buildings dedicated to business, medical care, and recreation. The principal problems are health related, not only from direct contact but through contamination of food, bedding, and circulating products. Some curious psychological syndromes also are exacerbated, among them delusory parasitosis and mass hysterias associated with real or imagined microscopic insects believed to infest the human skin. Wooden structures and their furnishings are destroyed by insects, as are stored products. Use of outdoor recreational areas often exposes humans to arthropod vectors of pathogens. Hotels, bathhouses, and like establishments foster the transmission of body parasites like lice and bedbugs.

The major offenders to human peace of mind and welfare in urban areas are semidomesticated species, often of tropical origin, seeking the warmth and high humidity that prevails in our abodes and working places (Frankie and Ehler 1978). The best examples of these are several species of cockroaches, termites, and silver-fish that live in the walls and furniture and other wooden components of houses. Flies enter through doors and windows and both bite and annoy us. Ants of many varieties do likewise. Clothes moths destroy woolen fabrics, and grain, flour, and meal moths and beetles invade the pantry.

As virgin land is converted to brick, mortar, and asphalt, persisting populations of native insects may bring grief to the new tenants. Housing situated near freshwater marshes, from which mosquitoes and punkies emerge, may make life miserable for people in their gardens and even indoors. Kissing bugs (Triatominae) living in rodent nests may choose humans as hosts on their nocturnal wanderings.

Control of domestic and urban insect pests has special requirements (Mallis et al. 1982, Osmun and Butts 1966). Paramount

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