Peridomestic and domestic habitats

Within and around buildings, houses, and other urban structures are habitats that support individuals or populations of plants and animals. Peridomestic habitats are outside, around the perimeter of structures. They include the external surfaces of buildings, the ornamental trees, shrubs, and turfgrass that characterize the urban and suburban landscape. Domestic habitats are indoors, and include the plant- and animal-based materials in this controlled, anthropogenic environment.


Harborage substrates, food resources, and environmental conditions of urban landscapes around the world generally support a large number of different species, if not individual species in large numbers. The soil-inhabiting and -nesting arthropods in this environment include ants thatforage indoors and termites that damage structural wood, ground-nest bees and wasps, and occasional or nuisance pests such as clover mites, millipedes, centipedes, and springtails. Plant-feeding insects utilize the cultivated urban and suburban trees and shrubs, and manyare aesthetic pests. Blood-feedingmites (chiggers), ticks, mosquitoes and other biting flies are associated with domestic and feral vertebrates. Species utilizing building surfaces or perimeter substrates include the umbrella wasps, hornets, yel-lowjackets, spiders, and scorpions. Underground sewer and storm drainage pipes provide some cockroach and rodent species access to urban and suburban neighborhoods. The garbage disposal network of collection, sorting, and landfill provide harborage and food for cockroaches, flies, rodents, and pest birds.

Reservoir populations for many of the pest species established in peridomestic habitats are in nearby natural or undisturbed areas. Woodland tracts and other small or large patches of greenspace can support populations of biting flies, wasps and hornets, ticks, and spiders. Here are the populations that provide the individuals or groups that establish or replenish infestations in less stable habitats, or re-establish populations lost to habitat destruction.


Environmental conditions indoors are generally stable, and the harborages and food resources are somewhat limited. There may be few species, but those adapted to specialized resources often occur in large numbers. Stored food, including packaged whole food and vegetables, organic fabrics, and other materials are the most common harborages and food resources in the domestic habitat. Directly or indirectly associated with these are dermestid beetles, flour beetles and moths, flies, and cockroaches. The global distribution of domestic products and similar storage environments across cultures has contributed to the cosmopolitan pest status of many of these insects, in both residential and commercial sites. Blood- and skin-feeding species that breed indoors are limited, but lice, fleas, bed bugs, and mites are medically important pests for more than one socioeconomic level of society. Insects and other arthropods in the living space are nuisance pests when they are few and their presence brief, but are not tolerated when they pose a health threat or persist in large numbers.

Natural habitats and populations for some domestic species, especially those infesting stored food, have been lost. Only populations in the urban environmentrepresentmany of these species, or they survive only through their link to humans (bed bugs, lice). Other indoor pests have reservoir populations in peridomestic and natural areas. Many of the common species occur in the nests of bird and rodents and from there have access to indoor habitats.

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