We’ve mentioned before that no one knows for sure why Cimex lectularius – better known as the common Bed Bug – has recently had a huge resurgence in North America after almost disappearing in the 1950’s. A lot of theories and pieces of the puzzle have been suggested, but none of them fully explain the phenomenon.
Now, scientists at a research college in England have discovered a startling new clue to the mystery – and certainly one that explains the rapid spread of the insects across both the United States and the globe.
It’s so simple, once you hear it, it’s almost too obvious – one of those right in front of your nose discoveries. Oh, and speaking of noses…
Blood, Sweat & Tears
Most folks are aware that bed bugs feed on blood. Preferably human, but they’re not always too picky when they’re hungry. We also know that the little critters can hibernate, not eating for up to a year.
But what the researchers at Sheffield College discovered was that bed bugs are drawn to humans because of their smell. And, as a result, if they can’t find one of us to munch on, they’ll hide out in our dirty clothes.
Much like our old friends the mosquitoes, bed bugs are attracted to the smell of human beings. They even have a technical term for it. Insects that are hematophagous. Higher levels of the carbon dioxide we exhale triggers a foraging instinct in both bugs. But that instinct is released when they smell our blood.
By the way, bed bugs can sense 104 different chemical elements and compounds in the smell of our skin.
A Little Extra Carry-On Weight
When bed bugs are in the foraging mode, the smell of a person causes them to have a both an electrophysiological and behavioral response. So, they naturally seek it out and often nestle down in dirty laundry and the suitcase or clothes basket carrying said laundry.
So, to put it in simpler terms, bed bugs seek out things that smell like people. If they can’t bite you – because you’re not there – they opt to hang out in your soiled laundry. When you pack those dirty clothes into your suitcase, you inadvertently bring them along.
So an untreated outbreak of bed bugs at a hotel in Topeka, KS can rapidly spread to your home or other places you’re travelling. If the average hotel has 100 rooms, that means 50-100 new places for the bed bugs to spread, even without taking into account their ability to inbreed, or the average litter of 300 bed bugs from one pregnancy.
We’re itching just thinking about it…how about you?
What Do I Do?
Well, first off, always do a bed check for bed bugs when you first check-in to your hotel room. No hotel is immune these days, no matter how low rent or swanky it is. If you are able to, wash your clothes before you pack them back in your bags to leave. And if you do end up bringing bed bugs home with you, call us. Only a professional pest control provider can truly solve an infestation.
We also handle the everyday insects and rodents that tend to find their way into your home. And as we’re coming up on Halloween, what better time to check out our Go Green Plus 3 Program. We do a thorough initial treatment, then enhance its effectiveness with tri-annual rechecks that keep your home bug free. It can also be affordably combined with our Term-Assure 365 Termite solution or our Thermal Acoustical Pest Control that helps lower your energy bill.
All of our pest solutions are 100% natural, organic, safe for the whole family and more effective than standard chemical treatments. We’ve helped families all up and down the Gulf Coast of Florida, from Lakewood Ranch to Ruskin and North Port and we’d love to share the Good News with you too!