or 5 Bugs Rentokil Would Find In Your Damp Holiday Towels
Hot weather often involves a lot of sweating and hence cooling down in pools, lakes or – if you’re lucky – the ocean. Then you towel off, change into dry clothes and go about your day.
But what would happen if you chucked your damp towel into a corner and left it there for the whole of summer? What sort of bugs might you find in the damp, dark places that have been left to themselves for months on end?
All of these bugs could conceiveably live in a cotton towel for some time, considering a damp cotton towel that lays undisturbed for months will be a lovely home to millions of bacteria, mould, algae and all manner of other small organisms.
Famously associated with damp places, silverfish may not be dangerous, but they definitely are annoying. (Not dangerous as in they don’t transmit disease.) They eat matter that contains polysaccharides, which include glue, paper, sugar, hair, carpet and dandruff. Yummy. In times of desperation, they may also eat synthetic fibres, dead insects or even their own exuviae (moulted exoskeletons). But then again, they can also live for a year or more without eating anything at all.
Also known as psocids (pronounced so-sids), booklice are tiny insects that are usually only slightly bigger than a pin head. They are often found in the pages of old books, as they feed on moulds and mildews that grow on the glue in the bindings or on leather. These moulds and mildews need moist areas to grow in, which is why book lice are found in damp, dark places.
Springtail come in a rainbow of colours: yellow, lavendar, red, green, gold, black, white, even patterned, mottled iridescent or metallic. You can tell what you are looking at, however, by the way it jumps using a forked structure called a furcula, which is found at the end of its abdomen. It also favours damp places and eats algae, decomposing vegetable matter, bacteria and fungi.
Woodlice (also named roly-poly, sow bug, butchy boy, armadillo bug among many, many others) prefer to live under rocks, and can breed in decaying organic matter. These creatures aren’t bugs as such; they are actually land-dwelling crustaceans, and they need to remain damp in order to breathe through their gills.
These bugs are originally from the Mediterranean area, but have since spread to other parts of the world. They are insectivores, and they particularly enjoy snacking on silverfish – mentioned above. Plus, they are usually found in the basements and bathrooms of buildings, making them one of the bugs you really would be likely to find in your damp pile of towels!
Hopefully you’ll have plenty of fun this summer, but we hope this might make you think twice about leaving that damp towel on the floor after your swimming/sunbathing antics, or any sport activities for that matter!