Bed bugs love to thrive in dirty laundry

ANI | Updated: Sep 29, 2017 15:25 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Sep 29 (ANI): Beware! Next time you out on a vacation, you may want to keep your dirty laundry in a sealed bag, particularly when staying in a hotel, as according to a recent study, it can cut the chances of taking bed bugs back home.

According to researchers, nocturnal blood-sucking insects are a huge problem for the hotel and homeowners as they are attracted to dirty laundry.

The results indicated that residual of human odour on soiled clothes acts as an elicitor of host-seeking behaviour in bed bugs.

Lead researcher Dr William Hentley from the University of Sheffield in London said that leaving worn clothes exposed in sleeping areas when travelling may facilitate the dispersal of bed bugs.

Consequently, dirty laundry left in an open suitcase, or left on the floor of an infested room may attract bed bugs.

One possible mechanism facilitating the global spread of bed bugs is that the insects find their way into clothing and luggage.

The team conducted experiments in two identical, temperature-controlled rooms in which four tote bags of clothes were placed - two containing soiled clothes, two with clean clothes - in the presence of bed bugs.

In each run of the experiment, one room received an increase in concentration of CO2 to simulate human breathing.

The findings indicated that in the absence of a human host, bed bugs were twice as likely to aggregate on bags containing soiled clothes compared to bags containing clean clothes.

They also found that in the room with increased concentrations of CO2, bed bugs were more likely to leave their refuge and initiate host-seeking behaviour.

Dr William Hentley said that 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.

The study appears in journal of Scientific Reports. (ANI)