The 1 Terrifying Way You’re Increasing Your Odds of Getting Bedbugs at a Hotel
Many people like to bring home a souvenir when they travel. But unless you’re an entomologist, you probably don’t want bugs of any kind coming home with you. That can happen not only if you travel to a tropical locale, but also if you vacation in one of the most bedbug-infested cities in the United States. You might think that you’re doing everything you can to avoid getting bedbugs when you stay at a hotel or Airbnb. But you may actually be making a common mistake that increases your chances of attracting the bugs.
What are your chances of getting bedbugs?
Everybody has heard horror stories about bedbugs. Nonetheless, most people don’t know how likely or unlikely it is that they’ll encounter the little critters. (Much less their odds of ending up with the insects hitching a ride home with them._ As Slate reports, popular wisdom casts bedbugs as “world-class hitchhikers.” But are the bugs really that easy to catch if, for instance, you stay at a hotel that has them? As Slate reports, scientists haven’t quite figured it out yet. But the CDC reports, “Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area.”
People — perhaps even you — are pretty scared of bedbugs. And for good reason
The New York Times notes that many people feel very scared of ending up with an infestation of the critters. “Some of the fear is rooted in fact,” The Times concedes. “The bugs, while they are not known to transmit disease, can travel on clothing, jump into pocketbooks and lurk in the nooks of furniture. And they do, of course, bite.” You’ll likely only fear the bugs more if you learn about their life cycle. As Popular Science explains, a fertilized female can lay three or four eggs a day until she dies. But it just gets worse:
Luckily, she only lives about nine months after being traumatically inseminated—regretfully, that is the actual scientific term—by a male bed bug. Traumatic insemination is, somehow, even worse than it sounds. Female bed bugs actually evolved a reproductive tract, but males don’t do anything so pedestrian as push a penis in there. Oh no. They use their hypodermic penises (again, the real term) to pierce their partner’s abdomen, injecting her with sperm.
They may not actually be that easy to catch
Back to the problem of bedbugs in hotel rooms. Popular Science notes that nobody truly understands how the tiny, flightless critters travel. But scientists do know that the bugs colonize beds because that’s where people reliably lie down for hours at a time, just waiting to be bitten. Slate concedes that not many researchers have looked at how infectious bedbugs are. But evidence seems to suggest that an infestation of the critters isn’t thateasy to catch. Slate explains, “The prevalence of bedbugs has clearly gone up in recent years, but the rate of freak-outs has been increasing even faster. It’s essential to recognize that the ‘disease’ is just not that easy to catch.”