Nothing ruins a holiday quicker than an infestation of bed bugs. In fact, reading about it is enough to make you itchy.
The simplest way to stop yourself from freaking out over the critters is to know what they actually look like.
A study published in the journal American Entomologist, involving a survey of 2000 people, revealed only 28 per cent of leisure travellers were able to identify the bed bug in a line-up.
Entomologist at the University of Kentucky, Michael Potter, who conducted the survey said he wasn't surprised by the results.
“I’m not surprised about it at all because people bring in stuff all the time: I’m like ‘No, that’s a raisin, it’s not even a bug," he said.
“It’s easy for the public, who doesn’t deal with this stuff a lot, or who has maybe never encountered a problem, to not know a difference, but your parents or grandparents who lived through bedbugs, probably have a better understanding of what they look like.”
The aim of the survey was to assess travellers’ knowledge of bed bugs but to also highlight the consequences of a false report.
“What we’re really trying to figure out is what the economic value is of reports of bedbugs,” said Jerrod Penn, an economist at the University of Kentucky.
What does a bed bug look like
Potter told the New York Times, “The adults are flat, brownish and similar in size to a stick, sans blood. And like a tick, they don’t fly or jump."
“They crawl, most often around your bed, near your head, where the carbon dioxide you exhale lures them closer to the buffet of blood beneath your skin.”
Young bed bugs are smaller, tan and vary in size. However, when scanning a room for bedbugs, Potter says you will have more chance of finding their eggs, which “look like white dust, or the peppery specks of dried blood they leave behind as waste."
He added: The bugs are prone to gather “around the seams, folds, tufts, labels and edges of the mattress. They’re often found behind headboards.”
Answer: If you answered number four above, then you would be right.