Updated: Dec 3, 2019
Fact: Even the cleanest houses (hospitals, dormitories, offices, etc) can be home to bed bugs. The resilient little critters do not respect people or places. They are equal-opportunity pests.
Unfortunately, bed bugs often make their way undetected into homes, offices, hospitals, etc. And they can be brought in on clothing, in luggage, nested in used beds and couches, and clinging to other everyday objects, like shoes, books, newspapers, and shopping bags. You name it — they can use it as a mode of transport.
Most people realize that bed bugs like to make their homes in mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards; in fact, the animals will live wherever they have access to people or animals, the sources of their diet of choice: blood.
But here’s something we didn’t know until just recently: bed bugs absolutely love to hide out in dirty laundry.
Surprising New Research About Bed Bugs
Actually, most people still don’t know this fact because it was only recently discovered. The role of dirty laundry in bed bug infestations was one of the main findings of a recent paper by scientists at the University of Sheffield in the UK. The study, published in the September 2017 issue of Nature.com, found that dirty laundry acts as a powerful magnet for bed bugs. In fact, bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) were twice as likely to gather on and inside bags containing soiled clothing, as compared to bags holding clean clothing.
That is not to say that bed bugs prefer dirty clothes to real live humans, but the UK scientists were able to show that, in the absence of a human host, bed bugs zero in on their next best option: the smell humans leave behind on soiled clothing. “It is the first time human odour has been considered as a potential mechanism facilitating long distance dispersal in bedbugs,” said William Hentley, an ecologist at the University of
Sheffield and first author on the paper.
Bed Bugs Are Back? They Never Went Away!
Bed bugs went into something of a decline in the 1980s and 90s, but the last two decades have seen an aggressive resurgence in their numbers. Some observers have linked the problem to the increase in low cost air travel.
The new researchers suggested that because “Bed bugs are attracted to the odour of sleeping humans and soiled clothing may present a similarly attractive cue, all