Why your room could be infested with bed bugs thanks to this common laundry mistake

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If you've been putting off doing a load of laundry, it could be an idea to stick it on now.

We've all heard the expression 'sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite,' but there could be a way of stopping this from happening.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs

Far from being a fictional creature, bedbugs are small blood-sucking insects that live in cracks and crevices in and around beds.

They crawl out at night and bite exposed skin but it seems that dirty laundry could be a major cause of the problem.

Although they end up in beds, to feed on blood, new research has suggested that the problem could start in your laundry basket.

An experiment, led by the University of Sheffield, found that leaving worn clothes exposed in sleeping areas when travelling may facilitate the dispersal of bed bugs.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs

The insects commonly find their way into clothes and luggage but are twice as likely to aggregate on bags containing soiled clothes compared to those containing clean clothes.

Four tote bags of clothes were placed – two containing soiled clothes, two with clean clothes – in the presence of bed bugs.

Both the rooms were temperature controlled but only one room received an increase in carbon dioxide concentration to stimulate the effect of a human breathing.

The study concluded that, in the absence of humans, bed bugs were twice as likely to head for bags containing soiled clothes.

This suggests human odour on dirty clothes acts as an elicitor of host-seeking behaviour in bed bugs.

So,dirty laundry left in an open suitcase or left on the floor of an infested room may attract bed bugs.

Scientists have recommended that keeping laundry in a sealed bag, particularly when staying in a hotel, could reduce the chances of people taking bed bugs home with them.

Dr William Hentley from the University of Sheffield said: “Bed bugs are a huge problem for hotel and homeowners, particularly in some of the world’s biggest and busiest cities.

"Once a room is infested with bed bugs, they can be very difficult to get rid of, which can result in people having to dispose of clothes and furniture that can be really costly."