Health Care

Bed Bugs Love to Travel in Your Dirty Clothes, Science Finds

Bed Bugs Love to Travel in Your Dirty Clothes, Science Finds”

The parasites are a headache for hotel owners because infestations are hard to spot until the bugs start biting.

"There are a lot of good studies out there focused on trying to understand how bed bugs are attracted to humans and how they get around apartment blocks, but no one has really talked about how they get into the house in the first place", Hentley said in a statement to Gizmodo.

A new research reveals bed bugs's preference for dirty laundry. A family of bed bugs was then placed in the center. During each round of the experiment, the researchers designated one room to have elevated levels of carbon dioxide, to simulate the presence of a human. Storing the entire suitcase within a plastic bag is another method, though there is yet another option if you forget to: a heat chamber that super-heats your bag for a certain period of time to kill off any potential pests that hitched a ride home.

This has led Dr William Hentley from the university's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences to suspect that the bugs are drawn to human body odour.

The long-held belief for how bed bugs end up lugging home along with humans after a trip is that perhaps they fell on clothes or on the luggage after they're done feeding.

A recent University of Sheffield study compared two temperature-controlled rooms with four bed-bug infested laundry bags, two with clean clothes and two with soiled clothes, The Telegraph reports. Previous research has noted physiological and behavioral changes in bed bugs when they're near a breathing human.

The researchers say that when traveling, keep your worn clothes sealed in a bag, don't leave your suitcase open or toss your clothes on the floor.

After four days, researchers observed that the bed bugs were mostly in the bags with used clothes.

"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". "Careful management of holiday clothing may be an important strategy in the prevention of bringing home bed bugs", the researchers conclude. "Odors from soiled clothing (or luggage containing soiled clothing) may therefore influence host-searching behaviour in bed bugs and consequently facilitate the passive dispersal of bed bugs via long-distance transport networks".

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