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Bed Bugs Are Attracted to Dirty Laundry

The worldwide spread of bed bugs has taken toll on many unsuspecting victims.

Bed bugs got their name from occupying areas where we sleep or rest. In beds, an easy chair or couch, they will have their way with you and hide.

They hitchhike and people never know how they got them. It’s often blamed on a visitor or guest, or someone else other than yourself.

Some people have no reactions to their bites, and months can pass before they realize they have them.


Meanwhile, they spread in multi-occupancy communities like apartments, townhomes or condominiums. And in some cases, bed bugs go with people to work or school.

How Did They Get Here in the First Place?

The most asked question is “How did I get bed bugs? I’m clean!”

Most people associate bugs in general to dirty, unkempt or homeless environments. Whereas bed bugs don’t discriminate clean from dirty, rich from poor; all they want is a blood meal.

Most people have no identifiable way to know how they got bed bugs.

But think about it, hundreds of thousands of people travel from country to country every day. Bed bugs find their way to humans via clothing, luggage and personal items and we carry them where ever we go.

And since a bed bugs only survival is our blood, in a world of over 7 billion people; we are all at risk for bed bugs. We do know that they are now found in countries that never had bed bugs before.


Turns out – Sleeping Humans Isn’t All They’re Attracted To

Elevated CO2 odor of sleeping humans acts like a dinner bell. This stirs up a feeding frenzy and stimulates their behavior to seek out a blood meal.

But, it turns out, that’s not all they’re attracted to.

The question of how bed bugs disperse over long distances has been unclear for many years. So, a team of entomologists from the University of Sheffield, engaged in a now published study[1] to find out. They discovered bed bugs love used clothing while traveling.

Who would have thought?

Why We Find Bed Bugs Tucked Away in Our Luggage’s After Travel

Have you ever wondered how bed bugs wind up inside our luggage’s when its blood they need? Or how they scatter over long distances?

What they found was, the bed bug is also influenced by the smell of worn clothing. Any worn clothing will pick up your body odor or scent and acts as an attractant for bed bugs.

So, what happens when you leave your recently worn clothes in hotel room for the day?

The Experiment

To prove their theory, they created a temperature-controlled, bedroom-scale experimental environment. They wanted to see if bed bugs would leave their normal harborages.

  • Bed bugs were fed to satiation on human blood 24 hours prior to being placed in the environment.
  • They created clean cotton tote bags.
  • Two bags with dirty laundry and two bags of clean, identical articles.
  • They arranged them in exact measured distance from the bed bugs.
  • To imitate a slumbering humans breath, they added a block of dry ice.
  • They simulated dawn and dusk.

Releasing the bed bugs, they watched for activity.

The bed bugs didn’t disperse in or near the bed.

Even though the CO2 may have stimulated the bed bugs, they ignored going in the direction of the CO2 from the dry ice and sought out the dirty laundry bags.


No More Long-distance Dispersal

The fact that they use dirty clothing as a vehicle explains how long-distance dispersal happens. So, the statement that bed bugs don’t discriminate clean from dirty isn’t exactly true when it comes to clothing.

But when packing dirty clothing in a suitcase, permits them to travel right along with a host to any new destination worldwide.Thus, dirty clothing left on a bed, the floor, or in an open suitcase, is likely to attract bed bugs. [in an infested room]

Knowing this can assist people on how they handle their luggage and personal items. Learning how to pack before a trip[2] can save many people from picking up bed bugs. And especially knowing how to unpack will save so many people from having an unknown infestation.

What to Do If You Find You Have Bed Bugs

Even when we are as careful as we can be, bed bugs may find their way into your home. We can help you fight the battle of bed bugs with our one-day heat service.

Don’t wait, call the professionals at Nashville Bedbugs first upon first thinking that you have a bed bug problem.

Serving the Entire State of Tennessee & Kentucky including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin& Murfreesboro.



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