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Why do bed bugs like clothes?

(10 posts)
  1. creeepedout

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Jan 21 2008 18:02:25
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    I realize that, "Ours is not to reason why..." But I can't help but wonder why bed bugs like clothes. For example, the ones hanging in the closet: if they want to bite ME and locate me by my CO2, why would they crawl onto clothes hanging in my closet?

    I get the dresser thing, because of the wood, etc. But I think knowing why alleviate some frustration. I've tried to look it up online, but I just see tons of info about washing everything. Anybody know why? WHY!!! *chuckles* Alright, back to the wash...

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Jan 21 2008 18:13:25
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    creeepedout,

    I don't think they particularly like clothes. I don't think they are attracted to clothes in the absence of people. I think that this advice may be based on the fact that if you've had bed bugs on you when you were in the clothing, there may be eggs or even bugs in it.

    That's just my theory. We repeat this advice because most experts seem to recommend it as part of treatment. It's in many of the fact sheets and prep sheets.

    But it's worth noting that some experts don't tell people to do this.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. Winston O. Buggy

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Jan 21 2008 21:53:56
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    In light infestations bed bugs probably get moved to the closet
    mechanically; like being on an item that gets moved to the closet
    shoes, jacket etc. They may also come up from another apartment via
    phone, cable or other lines that are often run through closets.
    In heavier infestations all these apply and sometime population
    density causes migration to heretofore clear areas. Better to
    take precautions and cover all bases early which includes sealing
    holes and placing monitors either tape or professional traps.

  4. NotSoSnug

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Jan 22 2008 2:44:47
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    You see lots of opinions about BBs crawling onto folks clothes in mass transit, theatres etc so how do they get to those places but from clothing.

    I've read entymological opinion that a small proportion of BBs are wanderers, that forgo the comfort of the harbourage for redder pastures so there may be a percentage, higher in a heavy infestation, that just wanders onto everything including clothing.

    In my so far brief experience I found BBs in a dresser where I only stored clothes, but did not put those regularly worn in bed or out and about. So I figured BBs just like the hidey holes in dressers. But now I wonder about this because there was plenty of tongue in groove around my apartment they weren't in (other than my murphy bed harbourage). So perhaps they were attracted to clothing with my scent/pheromones. This might explain their penchant for clothes. We need research. Does Madam Minister have something to add?

  5. parakeets

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Jan 22 2008 11:50:59
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    I found that bedbugs in my apartment, besides tucking themselves into drawers of clothing, also liked to lay their eggs on the underside of pillows. Somehow the bedbugs in my apartment seemed to favor dark places (such as drawers with clothing and the underside of pillows are)and fabrics. Maybe if we wore alumninum foil and plastic, they would not be attracted to our clothes.

  6. Bugologist

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Jan 22 2008 15:19:25
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    Bed bugs are attracted to clothes. Think about a hotel room. You put your baggage on the floor on the other side of the room or wherever else and where are bugs always found (on the bags). I also regularly find bugs in closets on luggage and clothes when people haven't traveled.

    Research is starting to point to it being pheremones, sweat, etc... that is left on the clothes that the bed bugs are attracted to. There has to be an evolutionary mechanism for bugs to be attracted to luggage to be transported around. You can't tell me that the bugs by chance end up on luggage almost everytime someone stays in an infested room.

  7. IveBeenBugged

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Jan 22 2008 22:00:07
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    I've never seen bed bugs in the closet or on or in my clothing/shoes. This did not stop me from washing drying and bagging everything in the closet though. I think I just found out early enough to avoid the clothes being infested. I did this over the last 2 months.

    My neighbor on the other hand didn't go online and find this site full of information and tips on what to do and is now having to do the hot wash and dry thing as she has seen them in the closet and on her clothing. She also is checking out the website now.

  8. NotSoSnug

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Jan 24 2008 3:35:18
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    So if it is the pheromones/sweat/scent then when travelling, using sealed bags everytime for all gear/suitcases etc will prevent BBs coming along? Anything like towels etc that can't be bagged in the room ought to be bagged before placing in the suitcase for travel.

    I still think that the traveller idea applies to some extent porbably more for new infestations in neighbourhoods/multi family units but I sure buy that BBs like clothes with human scent. I guess this is testable in a lab with clean or washed clothes. Any work done on this, anyone?

  9. Anonymous

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Jan 24 2008 12:34:10
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    Rivnay, remember him? and others showed no lack of creativity (they certainly didn't lack for bugs) in testing for all kinds of things, I mean they tested earwax! But I believe they didn't find significant results for anything but heat.

    The Siljander article linked in the pheromones thread reviews the old research on this subject: http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/pheromones-research#post-14770

    Perhaps with new methods they'll get a clearer picture. Maybe others can clue us in on who is doing new research on tropisms.

  10. NotSoSnug

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Jan 26 2008 2:31:25
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    Thanks Madam Minister. I enjoyed the Siljander piece.


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