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Pests/bed bugs at laundry facilities

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Question
QUESTION: Hi.

How likely is it to pick up bed bugs using public laundry facilities? I'm worried as I have used tables to fold my clothes on, then put them in zipped laundry bags and one I've left overnight as it's too heavy to carry. What are the possibilities?

Thank you.

ANSWER: Lisa,

It is unlikely that you would acquire bed bugs this way, see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/bed_bug.html for ways to detect and identify bed bugs for more information.

Jack DeAngelis


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your prompt reply. I am just overly concerned since finding a bug in my bedding last week and the amount of time I spend at the laundromat. I'm pretty sure the bug in my bed was something else but I've heard you can pick them up from Laundromats if you use the folding tables and baskets and sit on the seats or leave your laundry bag on the floor which I have done. Do you think I'm just being paranoid?

Thanks again.

Answer
I think you are overly concerned. Unfortunately the amount of media coverage in recent years has made many people overly concerned about bed bugs. They are not as common as people think and they pose very little health risk. They are in fact much less of a threat than, for example, mosquitoes (which carry diseases) and cockroaches but people seem to react much more emotionally to bed bugs. I blame it on the media! Hope this helps.

Jack DeAngelis

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects such as aphids and spider mites, insects that bite and sting such as ticks and wasps, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

Experience

20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

Organizations
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Publications
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html Fine Gardening magazine

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology (the study of insects)

Awards and Honors
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

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