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Bed Bugs Attracted To Dirty Laundry

 

Of all the bugs that get into our homes, the bed bug may be one of the most misunderstood. And, one of the biggest misunderstandings is the idea that bed bugs are attracted to dirty homes. If you go online in search of answers, you're likely to get a wide spectrum of opinions on this topic. Some will say that it is foolish to think that bed bugs can live in clean environments. Others will say that bed bugs can live in the cleanest of environments. But, the truth is, both of these positions are only partly correct. While bed bugs can live in the cleanest of environments, they don't thrive in these locations.

For the longest time, entomologists have seen a connection between clutter and bed bug infestations. It is well researched that bed bug infestations are able to thrive much more easily when a home has clutter. This is because clutter helps bed bugs stay hidden. But, a recent scientific study has shed even more light on why bed bugs do better in homes that are cluttered.

There are lots of things that clutter our floors. Some are small, like pen caps, paper balls, marbles, or a plastic bottle that missed the trash can. Some are big, like boxes with stored stuff, items you're not using at the moment, or spare furniture. But, for most of us, laundry is a common item that can find itself laying on our floors. Laundry items from socks to pants and even coats can all be floor clutter. And, as it turns out, bed bugs can be attracted to these items.

According to the University of Sheffield, bed bugs that are not able to find a human host will seek out items of clothing that have human odors on them. So, while not specifically drawn to filth, they are attracted to dirty laundry. And, a home that has lots of dirty laundry on the floor is going to feel much more like home to a bed bug.

The Big Takeaway

There is something else this study reveals--something that can actually help us prevent bed bug infestations from taking root in our homes. Since bed bugs are attracted to clothing with human odors, leaving laundry items out when we travel can increase our chances of getting bed bugs. Crazy, huh?

Bed bugs spread from one location to another through a process called passive dispersal. This means that they don't travel on their own. We bring them with us. This can happen in one of two ways. They can crawl into our stuff and be carried, or they can lay eggs on our stuff and be carried. And, since bed bug eggs don't need the mother in order to hatch, a batch of eggs can be the beginning of an infestation inside our homes when we return from a trip.

Since bed bugs are drawn to items that have our scent on them, they are likely locations for bed bugs to lay their eggs. The more dirty items we leave lying around our hotel room--or the guest room at the home of a relative--the more chances we have of bed bugs hitching a ride home with us. No matter where you stay while on vacation, it is best to keep your laundry items in a plastic bag. Never leave them hanging over a chair, or lying on the floor if you're hoping to prevent a bed bug infestation.

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