Tag Archives: Bed bug aggregation on dirty laundry: a mechanism for passive dispersal

University of Sheffield study: Bed bugs attracted to dirty laundry

1 Oct

WebMD described the concern that bed bugs pose in Bedbugs:

Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.
Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.
Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.
Although they are a nuisance, they do not transmit diseases.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night…. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/bedbugs-infestation#1
Once there is an infestation, it is difficult to get rid of bed bugs.
Science Daily reported in Bed bugs attracted to dirty laundry:
Bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry according to new research published by University of Sheffield scientists this week (Thursday 28 September 2017).
The study, led by Dr William Hentley from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, suggests that leaving worn clothes exposed in sleeping areas when travelling may facilitate the dispersal of bed bugs.
Bed bugs have recently undergone a global resurgence, which has been partly attributed to an increase in low cost international travel in the tourism industry. One possible mechanism facilitating the global spread of bed bugs is that the insects find their way into clothing and luggage.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the University of Sheffield research conducted experiments in two identical, temperature-controlled rooms in which four tote bags of clothes were placed — two containing soiled clothes, two with clean clothes — in the presence of bed bugs.
In each run of the experiment, one room received an increase in concentration of CO² to simulate human breathing.
The Sheffield scientists found that in the absence of a human host, bed bugs were twice as likely to aggregate on bags containing soiled clothes compared to bags containing clean clothes.
The study also found that in the room with increased concentrations of C0², bed bugs were more likely to leave their refuge and initiate host-seeking behaviour.
Results from the research suggest that residual human odour on soiled clothes acts as an elicitor of host-seeking behaviour in bed bugs. Consequently, dirty laundry left in an open suitcase, or left on the floor of an infested room may attract bed bugs.
“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….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170928142058.htm

Citation:

Bed bugs attracted to dirty laundry
Date: September 28, 2017
Source: University of Sheffield
Summary:
Bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry, according to new research.

Journal Reference:
1. William T. Hentley, Ben Webster, Sophie E. F. Evison, Michael T. Siva-Jothy. Bed bug aggregation on dirty laundry: a mechanism for passive dispersal. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/S41598-017-11850-5

Here is the press release from the University of Sheffield:

28 September 2017
Bed bugs attracted to dirty laundry, study finds
• Bed bugs are huge problem for hotel and homeowners in some of the world’s busiest cities
• Insects finding their way into clothing and luggage is one possible cause of global spread of bed bugs
Bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry according to new research published by University of Sheffield scientists this week (Thursday 28 September 2017).
The study, led by Dr William Hentley from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, suggests that leaving worn clothes exposed in sleeping areas when travelling may facilitate the dispersal of bed bugs.
Bed bugs have recently undergone a global resurgence, which has been partly attributed to an increase in low cost international travel in the tourism industry. One possible mechanism facilitating the global spread of bed bugs is that the insects find their way into clothing and luggage.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the University of Sheffield research conducted experiments in two identical, temperature-controlled rooms in which four tote bags of clothes were placed – two containing soiled clothes, two with clean clothes – in the presence of bed bugs.
In each run of the experiment, one room received an increase in concentration of CO² to simulate human breathing.
The Sheffield scientists found that in the absence of a human host, bed bugs were twice as likely to aggregate on bags containing soiled clothes compared to bags containing clean clothes.
The study also found that in the room with increased concentrations of C0², bed bugs were more likely to leave their refuge and initiate host-seeking behaviour.
Results from the research suggest that residual human odour on soiled clothes acts as an elicitor of host-seeking behaviour in bed bugs. Consequently, dirty laundry left in an open suitcase, or left on the floor of an infested room may attract bed bugs.
Dr William Hentley from the University of Sheffield said: “Bed bugs 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 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.”
The research paper, Bed bug aggregation on dirty laundry: a mechanism for passive dispersal, is published in Scientific Reports on Thursday 28 September 2017. To access the paper, visit: http://nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/s41598-017-11850-5
Additional information
The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.
Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.
Contact
For further information please contact:
Sean Barton
Junior Public Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852
s.barton@sheffield.ac.uk

The best method of riding bed bugs is professional treatment.

The EPA offered the following advice in Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control:

Can you treat and eliminate the bed bugs on your own? Bed bugs are challenging pests to get rid of, since they hide so well and reproduce so quickly. In addition, the egg stage is resistant to many forms of treatment, so a single attempt may not be sufficient to complete the job.
Treating bed bugs is complex. Your likelihood of success depends on many factors, including:
• Extent of the infestation.
• Site-specific challenges.
o Clutter.
o Neighbors with infestations.
o Ability of all of the residents to participate.
Achieving complete control can take weeks to months, depending on the nature and extent of the infestation, and everyone will need to cooperate and do their part.
Before starting, you should lay out all of the steps on a calendar. The following steps will help you begin:
1. Identify the problem
2. Develop a strategy
3. Keep the infestation from expanding
4. Prepare for treatment
5. Kill the bed bugs
6. Evaluate and prevent
Identify the Problem
• Inspect infested areas, plus surrounding living spaces, to determine extent of infestation.
• Correctly identify the pest.
o Collect a sample to show an extension agent Exit or other reliable expert in entomology.
o Extension agents are trained in pest control issues and know your local area.
• If you have bed bugs and live in an apartment, notify your landlord, because the units surrounding yours should be inspected.
o Landlords may have a responsibility to participate in treatment. Check the housing codes and laws in your area.
Develop a Strategy
• Using a calendar, map out each stage based on the recommendations in the following sections.
• Plan to keep records through the whole process – including dates and locations when pests are found.
• Leave time for long-term monitoring to make sure all of the bed bugs are gone.
Keep the Infestation from Spreading
• Anything removed from the room should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and treated.
o Items that cannot be treated should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and left for an extended period of time to ensure any active bugs are dead (research shows variation in the length of time needed, but it can be as long as a year).
• Empty the vacuum after each use.
o Seal the bag and throw it out in an outdoor trash container.
• Don’t discard furniture if you can eliminate the bed bugs from it.
• If furniture cannot be salvaged, discard it responsibly. Destroy it so someone else won’t be tempted to bring it into their home. For example:
o Rip covers and remove stuffing from furniture items.
o Use spray paint to mark furniture with “Bed Bugs.”
• Take steps to have infested items picked up as soon as possible by the trash collection agency.
Prepare for Treatment
Jumping straight into control is tempting, but won’t work. Preparing for treatment is essential to getting successful control. It will also help by making it easier for you to monitor for bed bugs that haven’t been completely eliminated. This preparation should be conducted whether you are doing the treatment yourself or hiring a professional.
Learn more about preparing for treatment
Learn about treatment options (PDF).(4 pp, 480 K, About PDF) Exit
Top of Page
Kill the Bed Bugs
• Make sure the methods you select are safe, effective and legal. See What’s Legal, What’s Not for more information.
• Consider non-chemical methods of killing bed bugs. Some will be more useful than others.
o Heat treatment using a clothes dryer on high heat, black plastic bags in the sun or a hot, closed car (pest management professionals have other methods that are not suitable for non-trained individuals to use).
o Cold treatment can be successful in the home environment if the freezer is set to 0o F. You must leave the items in the freezer at that temperature for four days. (Always use a thermometer to check the temperature, since home freezers are not always set to 0o.)
o Reducing the numbers of bugs with these and other non-chemical methods is helpful, but is unlikely to entirely eliminate the infestation.
• If needed, use pesticides carefully according to the label directions or hire a pest management professional.
o Look for EPA-registered pesticides.
o Bed bugs must be listed on the label.
o Use foggers (bug bombs) only with extreme care. Improper use can harm your health or cause a fire/explosion.
 Because foggers work with a broadcast spraying action, they should not be used as the sole source of bed bug control. The spray will not reach the cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide.
 See Should I Use a Fogger?
• Every few days after you complete your initial cleanup and control processes, carefully look for any evidence of bed bugs.
o If you see bed bugs, that means that either the initial cleanup missed some individuals or that eggs have hatched (finding and removing or killing all eggs can be very difficult) and retreatment may be needed.
• If repeated treatments are needed, consider using pesticides with different modes of action.
o Desiccants (drying agents) can be particularly effective in some situations since they work by drying out the bug (which means the bed bugs can’t develop resistance to it).
 If using desiccants, be sure to use only products registered as a pesticide.
 Do not use pool or food-grade diatomaceous earth – this type of diatomaceous earth can harm you when you breathe it in. The pesticide version uses a different size of diatoms, which reduces the hazard.
 Desiccants can be very effective; however, they can take up to several months to work.
Bed bug interceptor (place under furniture legs to catch bed bugs)
Evaluate and Prevent
• Continue to inspect for presence of bed bugs, at least every 7 days, in case any eggs remained.
o Interceptors (placed under the legs of furniture to catch bed bugs and keep them from climbing the legs; commercial and do-it-yourself versions available), traps or other methods of monitoring can be used.
• Continue to implement preventive measures.
https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/do-it-yourself-bed-bug-control

There are several reasons according to the Bed Bug Treatment site you should seek the services of a professional:

There are four reasons where I would just recommend skipping right over the do it yourself treatment options, and jumping straight to calling a professional:
1 – You don’t like to read or follow instructions
If you are one to just “figure things out” because you don’t have time or the attention span to read the instructions, just go ahead and call a professional.
To be effective and safe, do it yourself treatment options require that you completely follow the instructions. Not following the instructions can result in you wasting money, wasting time and potentially putting yourself and your family in danger. You must understand that bed bug sprays and pesticides, if not used properly, will not only fail to work, but can pose a significant health risk to you or your family.
If you aren’t willing to read and understand the instructions, just go ahead and use a bed bug professional.
2 – You lack common sense
I was reading an article yesterday where “a Woodbury, NJ homeowner managed to set his house on fire in the course of a do-it-yourself pest control effort to rid it of bed bugs. He was reportedly using a space heater, a hair dryer, and a heat gun in order to kill bed bugs in a room on the second floor.”
A neighbor said “He went online, [and] got some instructions.”
There are just no words…
Heat treatments, unless you are using a steamer or placing the items in a bag to be heated by the sun, are not recommended for the do it yourself. This person was trying to mimic a professional heat treatment using a space heater, hair dryer and heat gun. Something tells me that the professionals don’t use space heaters and hair dryers…
In fact, if you do even a little research, you’ll see that professionals use very specific equipment for heat treatments, often involving large trucks that contain the the heat generating equipment. They also use very large heat and fire resistant containers to place all of your stuff in prior to treatment.
Common sense should tell you that using a space heater, hair dryer and heat gun is probably not the wisest thing to do. Don’t do anything that has the potential risk of destroying your home in the process of treating bed bugs.
If you lack common sense or have a high threshold of danger, just use a bed bug professional. Professionals are far less expensive than having to rebuild your home.
3 – You believe everything you read
Bed bug infestations worldwide are on the rise, and particularly here in the US. As a result, numerous products and websites have appeared popped up all over the internet offering to “help you” resolve your bed bug problems. Some of these products work, some don’t. I might even go out on a limb and say most of them don’t. Many websites are offering tips and suggestions on how to deal with bed bugs as well, and many of these sites contain inaccurate information or just plain bad advice.
Don’t believe everything you read. Do your research, read reviews, and compare site information. If 10 bed bug sites are saying one thing, and another site is saying something different, chances are the one site is wrong…. https://bedbugtreatmentsite.com/use-a-bed-bug-professional/

Ask for referrals and customer ratings should a professional be hired for bed bug eradication.

Resources:

Bed Bugs FAQs https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html

16 Secrets Bed Bugs Absolutely Don’t Want You To Know https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/get-rid-of-bedbugs/

Angies List https://www.angieslist.com/?CID=SEM.E001.P002.M002.G002.V000.C000.X000.Y000.Z000&s_kwcid=c-e-kwd-300751910952-http%20www%20angieslist%20com-27316a2d-31d3-405e-87a3-c952347c6024

Home Advisor http://www.homeadvisor.com

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