Recent entomological research indicates that bed bugs prefer certain colors over others.
Researchers found that bed bugs prefer shelters that are colored red and black. Yellow and green seemed to repel the critters.
The paper, by researchers at Union College in Nebraska and the University of Florida, was published online on April 25 by the “Journal of Medical Entomology.”
Although Cimex lectularius—as they are known to the scientific community—generally prefer red and black habitats, their color preferences vary slightly. These variations are dependent on the insects’ gender, nutritional status, and life stage.
The scientists speculate that bed bugs are attracted to the color red because the bugs themselves appear red. Red shelters may be indicative of the presence of other bed bugs, useful for “aggregation purposes,” and may demonstrate the relative safety of the shelter.
Yellow and green shelters are possibly avoided due to their relation to brightly-lit areas and plants, which bed bugs are adverse to. Female bed bugs will also avoid laying their eggs in yellow and green shelters.
The preference for red and black has also been found in certain mosquitos and sand flies, notes the study, in addition to the repellent properties of yellow and green.
Chief co-author, Dr. Corraine A. McNeill, said “I always joke with people, ‘Make sure you get yellow sheets!’ But to be very honest, I think that would be stretching the results a little too much.
“I don’t know how far I would go to say don’t get a red suitcase or red sheets, but the research hasn’t been done yet, so we can’t really rule that out completely.