Bad news if you keep your dirty clothes in your bedroom because laundry day – a new study has found you may just be creating a haven for bed bugs.
A recent University of Sheffield study compared two temperature-controlled rooms with four bed-bug infested laundry bags, two with clean clothes and two with soiled clothes, The Telegraph reports.
One of the rooms had a higher level of carbon dioxide to mimic human breathing, and you guessed it – the pesky little critters in this room were more active, even more so in the tote bag containing the dirty laundry.
This has led Dr William Hentley from the university’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences to suspect that the bugs are drawn to human body odour.
"It is the first time human odour has been considered as a potential mechanism facilitating long distance dispersal in bedbugs,” added Dr Hentley.
“Bed bugs struggle to walk up smooth surfaces, so when I go travelling I always look for those smooth metal luggage racks to keep my suitcase on. Failing that, I would keep my clothes in a big ziplock bag."
And as for his advice? Dr Hentley suggests people make sure they’re not leaving clothes out and exposed. “Bed bugs are a huge problem for hotel and homeowners, particularly in some of the world's biggest and busiest cities,” he said.
"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.
"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."
Known formally as Cimex lectularius, the common bedbug has been making an intense comeback since it went into decline during the 1980s and 90s.