Bed bugs may be even more clever than what researchers previously thought. According to a University of Sheffield study, when the pests are unable to locate a human host, they search for things that smell like people. In particular, the pests seek out dirty clothes.
Details of the Study
When researchers tested bed bugs, they found that the pests were considerably more attracted to dirty clothes than clean ones. To test bed bugs, researchers placed the insects in a space that was the size of a traditional bedroom with clothing items that were clean and dirty. For the study, the research team also increased the space’s Co2 level to one that mimicked human occupancy. They did this to encourage the instinctual search behavior in bed bugs instead of direct it. Following the study, the bed bug researchers were able to determine that when you’re traveling and you leave clothes that you’ve already worn out in your sleeping area, bed bugs will be more likely to return home with you.
What Else Attracts Bed Bugs?
Carbon dioxide attracts bed bugs. The insects seek out people for food. To do this, they search for Co2. This is why bed bugs will occasionally feed on the blood of animals.
Bed bugs are also attracted to warmth. When people sleep, their bodies produce heat as they work to regulate the temperature. If two people are in the same bed, it’s even better since more warmth is created.
A Common Attraction Myth
Many people believe that dirt and dilapidated living conditions attract bed bugs, but this isn’t the case. Bed bugs infest clean homes as easily as they do dirty ones. However, cluttered living conditions make it easier for the pests to hide themselves and tougher to exterminate them. A major problem with bed bug infestations is that you may have one for weeks or months without knowing it, giving the pests time to become established.
In most cases, you’ll get bed bugs by unknowingly bringing them into your home. This happens when you travel or buy used furniture that’s infested. Used clothing can also have bed bugs, so if you purchase it, then be sure to wash it in hot water as soon as you bring it into your home. Guests may also bring the bugs with them when they visit. You can’t really prevent this because it’s unlikely that they would do so on purpose.
Preventing a Bed Bug Infestation
You can decrease your chances of bringing bed bugs into your home by searching for signs of them when you travel. This includes checking the bed sheets, mattresses and furniture in any place that you stay. Be sure to store dirty and clean clothes off the floor if possible.
For pest problems, contact a professional. Geiger’s Pest Services can help.