This One Innocent-Seeming Thing You're Doing Could Bring Bed Bugs Home From Your Vacation (So Don't Do It!)

A new study targets how the pesky predators travel from hotel rooms to your house.

Bed bugs are small, can't fly, and are known to be hermits behaviorally speaking — so how is it that these tiny invaders are able to travel long distances and hitch a ride home from your vacation with you?

A new report published by Scientific Reports covered findings from a study on bed bugs and dirty clothes. It turns out that one way that bed bugs are able to travel even international distances is through your smelly, dirty laundry. The study points out that, "Human odor is thought to attract bed bugs since it elicits both electrophysiological and behavioral responses." 

If you want to minimize your exposure to this horror, for starters keep your dirty clothes off the hotel bed. Put them in a sealed plastic bag if you want to be extra cautious — or at least in a bag kept in your suitcase.

It also might be a good idea to place your suitcase away from the bed. The study's author, University of Sheffield science professor William Hentley, told Gizmodo that bed bugs do not like metal, so if your room has a metal suitcase rack, take advantage of it. This will increase your chances that you'll return home without any uninvited guests.

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