A new study now shows that bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry.
The researchers hope that their findings will encourage people to keep dirty laundry in sealed bags, especially when staying in hotels, to reduce spread of infestations to other people/
The study was conducted by the University of Sheffield and researchers say that leaving worn clothes exposed in sleeping areas when travelling may lead to bed bug infestation.
According to Dr William Hentley, the lead author of the study, bed bugs are a huge problem for hotel and homeowners, particularly in some of the world's biggest and busiest cities. He went on to add that once infested it is very difficult to get rid of the insects.
One possible way bed bugs are spreading is through clothing and luggage.
To investigate this, the researchers carried out experiments in two identical, temperature-controlled rooms.
Four bags of clothes – two containing dirty clothes, and two with clean clothes – were placed in the presence of bed bugs.
One room had increased levels of carbon dioxide to simulate human breathing.
The researchers found that in the room without the human, bed bugs were twice as likely to aggregate on the dirty clothes than the clean ones.
And in the room with high carbon dioxide levels, bed bugs were more likely to leave their refuge and seek a host.
These results suggest that human odour on dirty clothes makes the bed bugs seek a human.