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Bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry, shows study

If you’re the type of person to leave dirty laundry lying on the floor of your bedroom, you may want to think about investing in a laundry basket.

A new study has shown that bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry.

The researchers hope their findings will encourage people to keep dirty laundry in sealed bags – particularly when staying in a hotel – to reduce the spread of infestations.

 

The findings of the study suggest that human odour on dirty clothes makes the bed bugs seek a human. This indicates that dirty laundry left in an open suitcase or on the floor may attract bed bugs

THE STUDY 

The researchers carried out experiments in two identical, temperature-controlled rooms.

Four bags of clothes – two containing dirty clothes, and two with clean clothes – were placed in the presence of bed bugs.

One room had increased levels of carbon dioxide to simulate human breathing.

The researchers found that in the room without the human, bed bugs were twice as likely to aggregate on the dirty clothes than the clean ones.

And in the room with high carbon dioxide levels, bed bugs were more likely to leave their refuge and seek a host.

These results suggest that human odour on dirty clothes makes the bed bugs seek a human.

This indicates that dirty laundry left in an open suitcase or on the floor may attract bed bugs.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield suggest that leaving worn clothes exposed in sleeping areas when travelling may lead to bed bug infestations. 

Bed bugs have recently undergone a global revival – which is in part caused by an increase in low cost international travel, according to the researchers.

Dr William Hentley, who led the study, said: ‘Bed bugs are a huge problem for hotel and homeowners, particularly in some of the world’s biggest and busiest cities.

‘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.’

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

To investigate this, the researchers carried out experiments in two identical, temperature-controlled rooms.

Four bags of clothes – two containing dirty clothes, and two with clean clothes – were placed in the presence of bed bugs.

If you're the type of person to leave dirty laundry lying on the floor of your bedroom, you may want to think about investing in a laundry basket. A new study has shown that bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry (stock image)

If you’re the type of person to leave dirty laundry lying on the floor of your bedroom, you may want to think about investing in a laundry basket. A new study has shown that bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry (stock image)

One room had increased levels of carbon dioxide to simulate human breathing.

The researchers found that in the room without the human, bed bugs were twice as likely to aggregate on the dirty clothes than the clean ones.

And in the room with high carbon dioxide levels, bed bugs were more likely to leave their refuge and seek a host.

These results suggest that human odour on dirty clothes makes the bed bugs seek a human.

This indicates that dirty laundry left in an open suitcase or on the floor may attract bed bugs.

Dr Hentley 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.’

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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