It’s no secret what attracts bed bugs. The micro-sized pests are drawn to warmth, blood, and carbon monoxide – or, things that we either produce or possess in abundance. Bed bug infestations also love clutter, being hide-and-seek champions, but it’s our bodies that they prefer as hosts.
There may be another element that can attract a bed bug infestation: colour. From a collaboration study by the University of Florida and Union College in Nebraska, researchers discovered bed bugs are attracted – and repelled by – certain colours. If their studies prove to be accurate, keeping particular colours out of your bedroom, specifically the shade of your bed sheets, can help get rid of bed bugs by initially deterring them.
What Colours Are Bed Bugs Drawn Too?
In the bed bug experiment, the researchers took a Petri dish filled with bed bugs and added mini, bed-bug-sized tents like Monopoly pieces, in various colours. Bed bugs fiend cover and clutter, so they marched in the direction of the tents without hesitation.
But given the choice of colour, the bed bugs appeared to be most attracted to the black and red tents, and were off put by the brighter yellow, green, and white tents. Other factors – life stage cycle, gender, and appetite – played a role in their tendencies, though for the most part, those were the colours the bed bugs were drawn to and repelled from.
Researchers now have an idea of bed bugs’ colour preference, but they haven’t discovered why they have these tendencies. The initial hypothesis is quite simple: bed bugs are attracted to red and black because they’re the same colour. Another theory as to why bed bugs are instinctively inclined to dark colours is better hiding from predators such as spiders. They shy away from bright colours since they savour dark crevices and cluttered areas. Brighter colours also expose them to light, meaning they’ll lose water quickly, and will need to rehydrate their body or die.
The next stage in the team’s research is using actual bed sheets in their experiments.
How Does This Information Help Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation?
Knowing that colours can play a role in what attracts bed bugs can lead to developing new precautions against the pests.
One of the more common ways of getting bed bugs into your home is via travel. When you stay at a hotel with a bed bug infestation, they can find their way into your luggage, making you a bed bug mule. Now that there’s evidence bed bugs avoid brighter colours, using yellow or green luggage may deter them from burrowing in your baggage.
When it comes to your home, the obvious deterrence would be to exchange black or red bed sheets, if you have any, for brighter colours. Bed bugs won’t feel as home in the vibrant display, and they may be easier to notice on a brighter backdrop, too. If you wear pajamas to sleep, brightly coloured ones could protect you from midnight bed bug bites.
If the research holds true – the scientists won’t definitively conclude their findings yet – new types of bed bug traps could be produced. Creating carbon monoxide or pheromone traps that’re red in colour could be an extremely effective one-two punch to get rid of bed bugs.
The next time you’re buying bed sheets, or packing luggage for a vacation, opt for your brightest colours in order to keep bed bugs at bay. You can also tell your friends to ‘yellow their sheets’, but they might get the wrong idea.
Have bed bugs already infested your black and red sheets at home? Magical Pest’s specialized Bed Bug Removal Division utilizes much more effective ways to get rid of bed bugs rather than a swap of sheets.
Call us today at 905-738-6676.