The creepy crawly critters prefer dirty laundry to clean clothes, researchers at the University of Sheffield in England’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences found in a study.
It is known that bed bugs travel by latching on to clothes, but the experiment saw that they prefer dirty clothes to clean ones. The scientists put four totes of clothes — two soiled, two clean — in two identical rooms with bed bugs. Carbon dioxide was pumped into one room to simulate the CO2 humans emit as we breathe.
The bugs in the room without the carbon dioxide were twice as likely to hang out in the soiled bag than the clean ones. In the room with the carbon dioxide, the bugs went looking for a human snack.
The researchers say that when traveling, keep your worn clothes sealed in a bag, don’t leave your suitcase open or toss your clothes on the floor.
“Our study suggests that keeping dirty laundry in a sealed bag, particularly when staying in a hotel, could reduce the chances of people taking bed bugs home with them, which may reduce the spread of infestations,” lead author Dr. William Hentley said in a statement.
NYC Bed Bug Inspectors say on their company blog to put your suitcase in the bathtub in a hotel when you first arrive, before checking for critters.
When inspecting the bed, pull away the sheets and check the seams of the mattress itself, under the mattress and behind the headboard. Look for tiny blood spots or small black dots. Also check the carpet, chairs and couches and any wood, paper, and electronic objects in the room.
They also suggest to keep your luggage off the ground, consider wrapping it in plastic, and to immediately speak up if you suspect bed bugs in the facility.