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Bed Bugs Attracted To Dirty Laundry

Is It True That Bed Bugs Are Attracted To Dirty Homes?

Of all the pests that get into our homes, the bed bug may be one of the most misunderstood, and one of the biggest misunderstandings when it comes to bed bugs is the idea that they 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, while others will say that bed bugs can live in the cleanest of environments. However, the truth is that 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 bugs. It is well researched that bed bug infestations are able to thrive much more easily in cluttered homes as the clutter helps bed bugs stay hidden. Now a recent scientific study has shed even more light on why bed bugs do better in homes that are cluttered, and we want to pass that information along.

pile of dirty laundry infested with bed bugs

Why Are Bed Bugs Attracted To Clutter?

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 while others are larger like cardboard boxes, toys, or spare furniture, but for most of us, laundry is a common item that can find itself laying on our floors. Laundry from socks to pants and even coats can all end up clutter on the floor and, as it turns out, bed bugs will be attracted to these items.

According to a bed bug study completed by the University of Sheffield, bed bugs that are not able to find a human host will seek out items of clothing that smell like human odors; 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 than one without this added factor.

The Connection Between Bed Bugs And Dirty Clothes

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 clothing, especially dirty laundry, 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, but rather we bring them home with us. This can happen in one of two ways. They can crawl onto our clothing or into our stuff and be carried inside, or they can lay eggs on our belongings and be brought in that way; since bed bug eggs don't need the mother in order to hatch, those eggs can be the beginning of a bed bug infestation in our homes after returning from a trip.

Since bed bugs are drawn to items with our scent on them, our clothing, suitcases, and duffel bags are prime locations for bed bugs to lay their eggs. That means the more dirty clothes we leave lying around our hotel room or guest room at a friend or relative's home, 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.

What To Do If Bed Bugs Have Already Infested

If you've discovered bed bugs in your home, it's important that you seek assistance from a pest control professional right away. Your bed bug problem will not go away on its own, and if left untreated, a bed bug infestation will only grow and spread to other rooms of your home, or if you're in an apartment, to other units.

If you're in need of professional bed bug control treatments, we'd be happy to help! Our team of local bed bug control exterminators has the knowledge and tools needed to get completely rid your home of bed bugs. Reach out to us at Moyer Pest Control to get started!

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