British pest control officials recently conducted an annual Bed Bug Audit; reviewing cases of bed bug infestations across the pond, and questioning Brits about home habits that might contribute – or combat – a bed bug infestation. Experts agree that the laundry habits of Great Britain’s citizens leave them more at risk of bed bugs than those living here in the United States.

Just like in the U.S., Britain is being faced with a bed bug epidemic.

There are a great many national stereotypes that turn out to be false. The British, for example, famously have bad teeth – yet their dental care is officially rated most highly in the world. One stigmatic stereotype they might not be able to escape so easily, however, comes as a result of insurer Sheila’s Wheel’s recent national Bed Bug Audit.

After interviewing thousands of British homeowners, insurers were shocked to discover that 1 in 10 Brits comfortably left it a month or more between washing and changing their bed sheets – with some even admitting that they left it two months or more.

“We spend so much time in our beds that it is astounding so many Brits and particularly bug busting men – do not keep them clean,” admitted Sheila’s Wheels spokesperson Jacky Brown. “Simple measures like avoiding eating in bed, leaving the sheets exposed during the day and washing them regularly can help avoid an infestation.”

And bed bug infestations are becoming more of a problem than ever in Great Britain. Just as in the United States, a recent resurgence of bed bugs has occurred as a result of climate change and Brits using central heating for longer periods throughout the year; serving as the perfect environment for bed bugs to thrive in.

Not washing sheets just makes the problem worse – as washing and tumble drying is often enough to eliminate bed bugs and their eggs. The combination of the climate and Brit’s now famously dirty laundry is a recipe for bed bug disaster.

We Americans should take note of the ever increasing bed bug problem across the pond and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes as our British cousins. While washing sheets regularly will not get rid of a bed bug infestation (you’ll need bed bug killer products for that) it’s a good best practice to help reduce your risk of allowing bed bugs to thrive in your home.