If you think bed bugs only crawl through your sheets, think again. Those critters are fond of your dirty laundry, too, according to a new report.
Researchers from the University of Sheffield in England conducted an experiment, recently published in Science Reports, to determine possible causes of the spread of bed bugs.
To do so, they placed four tote bags of clothing - two with dirty clothes and two with clean clothes - across two identical temperature-controlled rooms that contained bed bugs. They also pumped carbon dioxide into one room to simulate human breathing and examined both rooms over the course of four days.
After analyzing the results, scientists found that bed bugs were twice as likely to latch on to the dirty laundry than the clean laundry in the room with the CO2. In the room without COS, bed bugs “were more likely to leave their refuge and initiate host-seeking behaviour,” scientist said in an article about the study.
Scientists believe when beg bugs cling to clothing, the critters can easily travel from place to place, which causes them to spread. To prevent an infestation, they think travelers should carefully store their clothing, keeping them away from beds.
“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,” lead author William Hentley said in a statement.
Such prevention tactics can also help reduce extermination costs as bed bugs can be extremely difficult to get rid of.