Bedbugs Actually Prefer Certain Colors

Like other insects, bedbugs appear to gravitate toward red and black
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2016 7:27 AM CDT
Bedbugs Would Rather Hide in Your Red Sheets, Please
Researchers from Weill Cornell and scientists at the American Museum of Natural History have traced the nefarious pest through the New York City subway system and discovered a genetic diversity among the bloodsucking creatures.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

If you want to keep the bedbugs from biting, one possible deterrent may come in the form of home decorating—because bedbugs, as researchers at the University of Florida have found, seem to have strong color preferences. Reporting in the Journal of Medical Entomology, they note that the bloodsucking pests far prefer red and black to yellow, green, or white, a finding similar to previous research showing that sand flies with nocturnal feeding behaviors similar to bedbugs are attracted to red wavelengths, while mosquitoes are most enticed by red and black clothes.

The findings are still new and researchers caution against doing anything rash, like tossing those old red and black Hot Topic sheets, reports Gizmodo. (Writer Sophie Kleeman plans to anyway.) And it isn't just sheets that matter; suitcases are notorious transporters of the pest from, say, a hotel room to, say, one's own bedroom. Plus the research only looked at the behavior of bedbugs in a petri dish with tent-like shelters made using colored paper, and it remains unclear just why bedbugs gravitate toward and away from certain colors, or even if they would under different circumstances. Still, one researchers tells CNN that the team has joked that "we are all going to buy bright yellow luggage bags because the bedbugs seem not to prefer them, or not to prefer laying eggs on them." (Bedbugs, meanwhile, are getting harder to kill.)

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