You Have a Favorite Color, So Do Bed Bugs

By:

Robin Mountjoy

April 4, 2016

It turns out those pesky critters that call your sheets home have color preferences. A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found bed bugs, parasitic insects that feed on human blood, prefer to live in black and red fabrics.

That’s right, if your sheets are red or black, you are more likely to inherit a bed bug infestation. Researchers discovered this by setting up different colored shelters that looked like small tents. After a 10-minute window for each bug to choose its shelter, what the researchers found was bed bug bias. Not only do bed bugs have favorite colors, but they also detest the colors green, yellow, and white.

A bed bug’s life

The researchers studied a variety of factors, including age, but also sex, hunger, and their environment. Bed bugs, which are oval-shaped and light brown or auburn in color, establish their preferences over their lifecycle, according to the study.

Young bed bugs, or nymphs, have not yet fully developed their vision, so the color of your sheets makes less of an impression on them. In the study, as the young insects approached adulthood, they displayed a higher preference for red and black.

Why red and black?

Red and black were about equally as likely to be chosen by the bed bugs as harborages. Initially, researchers believed the bugs were attracted to red because it is the color of their food source, blood. After the study was conducted, however, they concluded that the bed bugs were drawn to red, because they are reddish in color and are searching for their bed-bug friends.

Researchers believe black is an attractive color for bed bugs too, because nocturnal creatures prefer darkness. Green, yellow, and white all represent a lighter color that the insects, by nature, are not attracted to. The light sheets pose problems for their survival, causing them to lose water more quickly and preventing them from staying hidden. 

Putting this knowledge to work

Researchers want people to know a change of sheets isn’t a quick fix for bed bugs. However, the hope is that the research can be used as a tool for pest control companies. By knowing what colors attract and repel bed bugs, pest control specialists can better target them.

When a bed bug bites, it leaves a red, itchy bump. Most bed bug infestations need immediate attention and treatment. No matter the cleanliness of your room or sheets, bed bugs want to be where you sleep. Getting rid of these critters is best left to the professionals because bed bugs are masters at hiding. Connor’s can provide you with the right treatment to eliminate a bed bug infestation. Just give us a call today. 

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