Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live

Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live

by Rob Dunn

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A natural history of the wilderness in our homes, from the microbes in our showers to the crickets in our basements

Even when the floors are sparkling clean and the house seems silent, our domestic domain is wild beyond imagination. In Never Home Alone, biologist Rob Dunn introduces us to the nearly 200,000 species living with us in our own homes, from the Egyptian meal moths in our cupboards and camel crickets in our basements to the lactobacillus lounging on our kitchen counters. You are not alone. Yet, as we obsess over sterilizing our homes and separating our spaces from nature, we are unwittingly cultivating an entirely new playground for evolution. These changes are reshaping the organisms that live with us--prompting some to become more dangerous, while undermining those species that benefit our bodies or help us keep more threatening organisms at bay. No one who reads this engrossing, revelatory book will look at their homes in the same way again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541645745
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 100,253
File size: 17 MB
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About the Author

Rob Dunn is a professor in the Department of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University and in the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen. He is also the author of five books. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Homo indoorus 1

1 Wonder 7

2 The Hot Spring in the Basement 19

3 Seeing in the Dark 31

4 Absence as a Disease 53

5 Bathing in a Stream of Life 75

6 The Problem with Abundance 101

7 The Farsighted Ecologist 119

8 What Good Is a Camel Cricket? 143

9 The Problem with Cockroaches Is Us 161

10 Look What the Cat Dragged In 185

11 Gardening the Bodies of Babies 211

12 The Flavor of Biodiversity 231

Acknowledgments 257

Notes 265

Index 309

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Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Michaela_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
Never Home Alone explores the variety of life that shares our living spaces with us, from microbes and fungi, to insects and other arthropods; as well as the ways in which those lifeforms are evolving. This is a well written, popular science book that shows us that the ecosystems in our homes are more diverse than we may suspect, and that most of our co-inhabitants are beneficial or benign as opposed to harmful. The author’s enthusiasm for this subject is evident as he tells readers about various interesting studies about the creatures living with us. The author discusses such things as swabbing the International Space station (ISS) for bacteria and fungi; chronic autoimmune diseases associated with lack of microbes; microbes living in water heaters, showerheads, tap water, dry-walling; technophilic fungi that eat metal and plastics; the “uses” that our co-inhabitants may provide in terms of health and industrial applications; the evolution of pesticide resistance and the use of social spiders as non-toxic fly catchers; pets and the additional creatures they bring indoors; fermented food and bread making (Herman the yeast starter makes an appearance here); and the inoculation of beneficial microbes to prevent colonization by harmful microbes. I found the sections that deal with microbes and fungi on the Space Stations (ISS and Mir) to be especially interesting. Dunn points out that these fungi are more successful in establishing themselves in space in terms of procreation and living out many generations, that humans have been. I really would have loved more scientific details, but that’s just my preference. I found this book to be interesting and informative, with a chatty and informal writing style. Human houses provide living spaces and ecosystems for a myriad of organisms. After reading this book, you will never look at your home in the same way again.
constructivedisorder 9 months ago
This is a wonderful, very well-written look at the thousands of creatures we share our houses and lives with. Contrary to expectation, it is not at all creepy; instead, the author argues that exposure to this diversity actually keeps us healthy, and that serious problems arise when we try to sterilize our living spaces. This is one of those books that has something interesting on every page. The author also writes very good notes.