Bed Bugs Love Dark Colors, Shun Brighter Ones



Far from being color-blind, bed bugs actually have color favorites, according to a new study. Published early this week in the Journal of Medical Entomology, the study was conducted at the University of Florida. Roberto Pereira, an urban entomology research scientist who was involved in the study, told CNN that those miniscule marauders are drawn to dark red and black and they tend to avoid white and bright yellow.

The researchers created bed bug-size tents made of different color paper in Petri dishes. When the bugs were introduced to the scene, they quickly scurried to tents of their favorite colors while shunning the brighter-colored ones.

The researcher speculate that one reason for this behavior is that the darker colors of the bugs themselves, and they seek similarly-colored camouflage. There’s also the fact that, as Periera noted, the more bed bugs are exposed to light, the more water they lose. To replace it, they need to emerge from a hiding place – where they spend 90% or more of their time – and be exposed to predators. And bed bugs have a number of those, from cockroaches, through ants and spiders to mites and centipedes, according to Wikipedia.

Another urban entomologist, Dawn Gouge at the University of Arizona, who did not participate in the Florida study, nevertheless found the results fascinating as they could both suggest better ways to trap bed bugs for study and at least one approach people can take to avoid bringing them home from trips. (Bed bugs most often are brought into homes by travelers who’ve stayed in an infested hotel.)

The study also suggests, though no parallel is drawn, that using brighter-colored bed sheets could discourage the nasty little buggers from settling in where they could bite human bed companions.

The researchers seem quite inclined to believe that using brighter-colored luggage could serve as a form of deterrent.