We’re well aware that bed bugs are a right royal pain. The minute critters are difficult to spot and can end up costing you a princely sum.
But did you know you could be inviting the nasty little things into your life without even realising?
A new study has revealed that keeping dirty laundry in the bedroom (a habit we’re all too guilty of) could be giving the opportunity for bed bugs to thrive.
The experiment, which was undertaken by the University of Sheffield, found that insects are drawn to soiled laundry, leading researchers to believe this is why so many of the insects are able to travel from hotels into people’s homes.
Four tote bags were placed in the presence of bed bugs in two identical temperature-controlled rooms. Two bags contained dirty clothes with the other two housing clean laundry.
One room received an increase in carbon dioxide concentration to simulate the effect of a human breathing.
Results showed that in the absence of a ‘human’, bed bugs were twice as likely to head for bags containing dirty clothes.
“It is the first time human odour has been considered as a potential mechanism facilitating long distance dispersal in bedbugs,” commented Dr William Hentley from the university’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences.
He advises people – especially those on holiday – to avoid leaving clothes out in sleeping areas.
“Once a room is infested with bed bugs, they can be very difficult to get rid of, which can result in people having to dispose of clothes and furniture that can be really costly,” he added.
“Our study suggests that keeping dirty laundry in a sealed bag, particularly when staying in a hotel, could reduce the chances of people taking bed bugs home with them, which may reduce the spread of infestations.”
“Bed bugs struggle to walk up smooth surfaces, so when I go travelling, I always look for those smooth metal luggage racks to keep my suitcase on. Failing that, I would keep my clothes in a big ziplock bag.”
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