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Your dirty clothes are catnip for bedbugs

Prima (UK) logo Prima (UK) 02/10/2017 Natalie Healey

Bedbugs can thrive if you keep dirty laundry in the bedroom © Natalie Board / EyeEm / Getty Bedbugs can thrive if you keep dirty laundry in the bedroom Keeping dirty laundry in the bedroom allows bedbugs to thrive, suggests a new study. 

Bedbugs have soared in the last few years, partly thanks to low-cost international travel which has allowed them to spread between countries.

And now researchers at the University of Sheffield have shown that the insects are drawn to dirty laundry, which could be particularly problematic when travelling. The findings are published in Scientific Reports.

The team carried out experiments with tote bags (some contained dirty clothes while the others contained clean laundry). The bags were placed in the presence of bedbugs. Results showed bedbugs were twice as likely to aggregate on bags containing soiled clothes compared to those containing clean ones.

The research suggests the insects are drawn to body odour in dirty laundry. Therefore, leaving worn clothes in an open suitcase or on the floor of an infected room could attract them.

Lead researcher Dr William Hentley advised holidaymakers not to leave dirty clothes exposed in hotel rooms.

'Bedbugs 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 results in people having to dispose of clothes and furniture that can be really costly.'

His team suggests keeping dirty laundry in a sealed bag could reduce the chances of people taking bedbugs home with them.

Related: Why You Should Paint Your Kitchen Yellow (provided by Real Simple)


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