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Question about WHY bedbugs hitchhike from hotels

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  1. JulieH

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Jan 30 2013 10:13:15
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    This may be an unanswerable questions but maybe someone has some idea of the reason why bedbugs can so easily brought home from a hotel ?

    Here's my question: a bedbug (or colony) is happily living in a hotel bed. They get fed on a regular basis by the assortment of people staying in this room. They have tons of place to move around too (all corners of the bed, headboard screwed to the wall, bedside tables, furniture in the room, room next door or up or down). It's like a resort for them !! All you can eat buffet !!

    So then, why would a bedbug leave this paradise location and move into our luggage across the room ? It has no idea that this bag will end up somewhere with a better food source... Why leave a good thing ?

    We are advised not to put our suitcase (or purse, etc) on the bed. Why would a bedbug sense a suitcase from it's hiding place and say "OMG ! A suitcase ! I'm outa here !" and leave the comfort of it's harborage to venture out to hide in my suitcase ?

    Just curious... I either need a bedbug psychologist - or one for me !

    Thanks
    Julie

  2. loubugs

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Jan 30 2013 11:01:55
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    No just crawling about and maybe the suitcase smells better than the bed. Often the suitcase is next to the bed or on it and not feet away in a closet. Clothing placed on infested bed and bugs crawl around and onto clothing, coats, etc. And, of course, not all of them behave the same way.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  3. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Jan 30 2013 14:18:24
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    Hi,

    It's a lot like why did the chicken cross the road, sometimes its because they can.

    It is believed that the kairomones that build up on worn clothes can be a strong attractant for bedbugs and as such the more inquisitive ones may set off to investigate.

    I can however also state that the risk is proportional to the size of the infestation so anything where you have a significant risk of picking up a hitchhiker is easy to spot when you inspect.

    Hope that helps and keeps it in perspective.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

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    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about products.
  4. JulieH

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Jan 30 2013 16:14:40
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    bed-bugscouk - 1 hour ago  » 
    It is believed that the kairomones that build up on worn clothes can be a strong attractant for bedbugs and as such the more inquisitive ones may set off to investigate.

    Thank you Mr Cain, that's exactly what I meant. I was wondering if there was some reason to leave a good thing. Much like some people attract mosquitoes by the hundreds (me!) and some people rarely get bit (because they are all busy biting me). I figured there must be some attractant.

    Let's just hope whatever attracts Mosquitos also repels bedbugs and I did not bring back any hitchhikers from my recent trip. I did do a major bed/frame/furniture search but still, the suitcases were on the floor.

  5. EffeCi

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Jan 30 2013 16:18:44
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    I can however also state that the risk is proportional to the size of the infestation so anything where you have a significant risk of picking up a hitchhiker is easy to spot when you inspect.

    In a highly infested room I guess that each good place to hide in that is near the bed and doesn't already smell of BB is simply a godsend.

  6. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Jan 30 2013 16:23:05
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    Hi,

    It is erroneous to think that the kairomone smell is on people (unless you don't wash for a few days and then BB's is not your only worry). It is a breakdown compound that is produced as the oils and organic matter we shed degrades, think worn socks that slipped down the back of the laundry basket for a week or possibly the worn clothes that build up on a long business trip.

    If you feel you searched well and found nothing I would not be overly concerned about a suitcase on the floor or pretty much anywhere in the room as you took the steps needed to minimise the risks already.

    David

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Jan 30 2013 16:28:58
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    EffeCi - 5 minutes ago  » 

    I can however also state that the risk is proportional to the size of the infestation so anything where you have a significant risk of picking up a hitchhiker is easy to spot when you inspect.

    In a highly infested room I guess that each good place to hide in that is near the bed and doesn't already smell of BB is simply a godsend.

    Exactly, Richard Naylor presented some amazing work on cluster development and shuffling in model refugia which illustrated some great behavioural patterns although I am not sure he has presented the work outside of the UK and US meetings yet although I hear it may feature in a paper I am hoping he is writing. If you don't have his contacts remind me on skype.

    David

  8. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Jan 30 2013 21:11:59
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    Dumb question, but doesn't smell of BBs? I thought they preferred harborages (there was an article that they were more prone to enter a harborage so some pest control companies don't clean out harborage area before spraying since they will come back to harborage smell). It's been a year or so since I've read that.

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  9. bedbugsuptown

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Jan 30 2013 21:44:17
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    It's a lot like why did the chicken cross the road, sometimes its because they can.

    It is believed that the that build up on worn clothes can be a strong attractant for bedbugs and as such the more inquisitive ones may set off to investigate.

    Ever so clever, David Cain. Interesting too. Get the picture but now I gotta go and google kairomenes, lol.

    In a highly infested room I guess that each good place to hide in that is near the bed and doesn't already smell of BB is simply a godsend.

    @EffiCi, are you kidding around or is this a legitimate guess? Let's see......I'm guessing your 'guess' is for real.

    @JulieH~ For what it's worth my infestation 2011 manifested shortly after my daughter returned from a short trip to a Caribbean island. She stayed in 2 hotels and kept her luggage ( a medium sized canvas bag from Modells , webbed pockets on the outside) right underneath the bed. I guess she's got bb friendly 'kairomones'!

  10. JulieH

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Jan 30 2013 22:37:04
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    bedbugsuptown - 43 minutes ago  » 

    Ever so clever, David Cain. Interesting too. Get the picture but now I gotta go and google kairomenes, lol.

    Yup, first thing I did was google "kairomones" after I read his post ! LOL

    See - luggage UNDER the bed, I can understand being a problem. It's nearby, cushy, smells like people. But leaving the buffet in the bed for a trek across the room to a suitcase is what I find odd. Or even say leaving an apartment and moving through the walls to a neighboring apartement - makes no sense... I guess BBs have a sense of adventure: "See ya later boys, I'm off to see the world !"

  11. bedbugsuptown

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Jan 31 2013 0:11:26
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    Hi JulieH-- during my fairly mild infestation at some point I actually came to believe that bbs. had some kind of crafty intelligence. It sounds kind of funny remembering my thinking but at the time, if I remember correctly, I went so far as to credit them with an uncanny sense of intuition, lol!

    When the sun began to shine and it appeared I'd outwitted the crafty nasty brown bugs I opted for an inspection from the well respected pco KillerQueen, one of the professionals that so generously give their time and knowledge on this forum to help buggers like us. KillerQueen was not available when the day arrived, family business, and the Co. called to ask if I would be okay with his associate doing the inspection. Though eager to meet the renowned KillerQueen I was confident that his associate would be capable of inspecting. He gave me an all clear followed by a little chat.

    He told me that they were just dumb bugs with good genetics but, intelligence? No way! All they want, he explained is to fill themselves with the blood they need to survive. Once they've satisfied their blood lust and their nasty little innards are sated and full, they're a bit wobbly (like me, after hitting the air having just downed 2 martini's straight up). So they're kinda 'drunk' with less coordination than when they're out trolling for a meal, and the next goal is to reach the safe harbor they were very likely born in--(that is if the infestation has not gone on for too long).

    Your question is a tough one, and bedbugscouk is in fact renowned for his knowledge in the buggy world of Cimex lectularius. In any case, the little fu*kers have great survival skills (God love 'em, cuz I sure as hell don't)! Here's hoping that you did a thorough inspection of your luggage and spoiled the hopes of any adventurous bbs! Keep us posted, okay?

  12. bedbugsuptown

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Jan 31 2013 1:12:35
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    Aah, so a kauramone is in effect an "eavesdropper". That is that the organism that creates of emits the kairomones attracts a different organism (Ex. an organism that emits or creates the kairomone, like a human that has neglected the wash in the basket for too long, attracts that which is detrimental to the human that created kairome; like it potentially attracts bed bugs if they are present in the area.

    Therefore bed bugs are blood suckin eavesdroppers, damn them. Wish I had the room for a washer and dryer. Shucks, that might help this kairamone thang.

    Did I understand Wikipedia David--can wikipedia be trested??? I'll answer that, It's not the encyclopedia Britannica but might do in a pinch, right Professor?

  13. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Jan 31 2013 5:30:30
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    Why did the chicken cross the road?... is a brilliant analogy!

    A sealed plastic contractor bag (3 mil) is an inexpensive way to isolate your suitcase effectively.

    Additionally... I usually place my luggage in the bathtub until I have finished inspecting the room... I never place anything on the bed, chairs or dresser unless I have had the opportunity to screen the room with my K9 or perform a thorough manual inspection.

    I always remove the bed spread... fold it up and place it in an unused corner of the room... Although the reasons are more related to hygiene than bed bugs... Hotels rarely launder the bed spreads... If you ever watched the Dateline episode when they inspected a hotel room with a professional grade blacklight... you will understand.

    Placing the remote control in a Ziplock bag is another recommended practice given the current prevalence of influenza and Norovirus infections.

  14. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Jan 31 2013 8:24:48
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    Hi,

    Just to add a little, kairomones are aromatic organic compounds that have different effects with different organisms;

    Homo sapiens are most likley to be repelled by Kairomones in a similar way to you may have observed on mass transit when the halo of space open up around a single person and yet the rest of the area is packed like sardines. The evolutionary logic is "I am not going to mate with something that cant keep clean because its not going to look after our off spring even if I could get close enough to mate".

    Carpet beetles on the other hand consume dead organic matter so for them Kairomones are the dinner bell of the world and lead them to food.

    The exact role of Kairomones and bedbugs is not fully understood but as they are part of the pheromone group we can assume they have some signalling role and may be a trigger to investigate a new potential source of food like cat nip to a feline.

    I am not a wikipedia fan having spent months trying to get the bedbug one correct only to have someone repeatedly edit out my additions. I am happy to be mentioned in the article because of my book but that is about as far as I would want my association with wikipedia to ever go.

    Hope that helps.

    David

  15. EffeCi

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Jan 31 2013 19:33:57
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    bedbugsuptown - 21 hours ago  » 

    In a highly infested room I guess that each good place to hide in that is near the bed and doesn't already smell of BB is simply a godsend.

    @EffiCi, are you kidding around or is this a legitimate guess? Let's see......I'm guessing your 'guess' is for real.

    Yes, sure.
    BBs aggregation pheromone make its job at low concentration, but when the concentration is high it makes them spread around in search of new places to colonize.
    In a big infestation all good places near the bed are full of BBs , so the pheromone concentration is high and BBs tend to make new colonies more far from the bed.
    But if you put near the bed something (i.e a suitcase) that has good places to hide in and that does not already smell of BBs pheromone... well, it's a sort of city of gold for BBs and it will be quickly colonized by some specimens..

    Does it have sense, now?

  16. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Feb 2 2013 8:32:36
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    David's comment earlier caused me to ponder... Well... Wait a minute ... JUST WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD ANYWAY???... when viewed from a scientific point of view

    In terms of a biological perspective... The Chicken and the Bed Bug would both cross a road for the exact same reason....

    They are foraging for food and shelter.

  17. Blackheart

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Feb 2 2013 9:42:52
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    Hell, if chicken's even think remotely even as I do, they are getting pretty sick of people questioning their motives for crossing the road!

    I don't think there has to be a particular reason....

    Just Sayin....

  18. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Feb 2 2013 10:02:32
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    EffeCi -1 day ago

    BBs aggregation pheromone make its job at low concentration, but when the concentration is high it makes them spread around in search of new places to colonize.
    In a big infestation all good places near the bed are full of BBs , so the pheromone concentration is high and BBs tend to make new colonies more far from the bed.

    Low concentrations attract BBs... and high concentrations of aggregation pheromone triggers dispersal.

    Complex BB behavior like that poses a big obstacle for the development of products like a aggregation pheromone based trap.

  19. Winston O. Buggy

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Feb 2 2013 10:09:24
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    Because they don't like the little soaps and want to go to a home with big bars.
    Actually more like opportunity and oops in fact they don't know they will be traveling. Bed bugs don't live in structured colonies like bees so there is not that same hardwired return to hive concept.

  20. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Feb 2 2013 10:19:53
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    Blackheart

    Kind of reminds me of a joke I heard at a BB conference.

    The question was... Why did the Bed Bug cross the Road???

    Well... Turns out the answer is that the Bed Bug didn't actually walk across the road... It crossed the road with the assistance of a dumpster diver who found a free couch!!!

  21. Blackheart

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Feb 2 2013 10:26:49
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    Doug, first LOL first laugh I've had in quite awhile, but yeah, right on!

    I really don't think there is a rhyme or reason for anything in this life, I'm getting older and I'm learning to think logically perhaps? But whatever, it's all good!

    Sam

    xxx

  22. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Sat Feb 2 2013 13:23:02
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    You know...this is the first time I've understood the aggregation stuff and luggage hitchhiking. Thanks!

    I know I've read it before..


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