Nothing strikes terror into the hearts of millions like one simple word: bedbugs. Thankfully, new research published yesterday reveals how to avoid bringing the creatures home with you, and therefore infesting your apartment.
Instances of bedbugs have been on the rise, in part because of increased international travel. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, has found that there are some things you can do to prevent the pests from coming home with you.
The researchers set up a mock bedroom with laundry bags containing clean and dirty clothes, and the findings showed that the critters were "twice as likely to aggregate on bags containing soiled clothes compared to bags containing clean clothes."
"It is the first time human odor has been considered as a potential mechanism facilitating long distance dispersal in bedbugs," said William Hentley, an ecologist at the University of Sheffield and first author on the paper.
Hentley told Gizmodo:
There are a lot of good studies out there focused on trying to understand how bed bugs are attracted to humans and how they get around apartment blocks, but no one has really talked about how they get into the house in the first place. Stopping people from bringing bed bugs home can be a big step in preventing them spreading throughout the world.
So if they are attracted to dirty clothes, here are some ways to prevent them from coming home with you:
"Bedbugs struggle to walk up smooth surfaces, so when I go traveling I always look for those smooth metal luggage racks to keep my suitcase on," Hentley told The Guardian. "Failing that, I would keep my clothes in a big ziplock bag."