Bed bugs are an irritating pest that feeds on blood and which can cause personal as well as public health issues. Much is already well known on how to find and prevent these pests, but little is known about how they act when there is no human host to feed on.
A new study conducted by researchers part of the University of Sheffield sought to find out what these pests do in the absence of a human being that can “offer” it transportation and food.
Bed Bugs Love Dirty Laundry
For this study, which was released in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers prepared two identical rooms in which four bags were set up in the presence of bed bugs. Two of these bags contained dirty clothes while the other ones carried clean garments.
For each of the following tests, the scientists also increased the concentration of CO2 in the environment, to simulate human breathing. While the CO2 concentration didn’t affect the results of the study, the authors did note that the bugs were far more likely to cling to clothing that was less than stark.
The authors believe that the bugs were attracted to the human odor carried by the clothing, an idea that is already supported by previous research.
While the study was conducted in experimental rooms and not in real life, the results suggest that these bugs might travel from country to country by hitching a ride in dirty clothes.
Since bed bugs are such a public health issue and can be difficult to get rid of, it’s important to assure that they don’t travel along with the dirty laundry in luggage. Also, as bugs find it difficult to climb metal, dirty laundry can be kept in metal racks or containers when stored in a location that might contain pests.
If such a solution is unavailable, a plastic bag should provide sufficient protection from these nuisances.
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