When they aren’t chewing on you, bedbugs spend most of their time hiding in tiny cracks and crevasses. However, not all hiding places are equal for bedbugs, new research finds. They may have a preference for hiding under certain colors, according to a new study in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
Scientists at the University of Florida set up Petri dishes with paper tents in various colors available for the bed bugs to hide under, then watched to see if they preferred specific colors. The Petri dishes either contained two or seven choices of colored paper tents for the bugs to choose from.
The colored tents presented to the bedbugs. Image Credit: McNeill et al., Journal of Medical Entomology (2015)
Each bedbug had 10 minutes alone in their Petri dish to choose a hiding place before the scientists recorded their preference. Some of the bedbugs in the study had been recently fed, while others had been starved of blood for a week. The trial was repeated 40 different times with bedbugs in various life stages, both male and female.
The bedbugs’ preferences changed depending on their sex and life stage, but in general, yellow and green colors seemed to repel them, while darker colors like red and black were more appealing hiding spots. Female bedbugs preferred purple hues, while males preferred red and black more. The bugs laid more eggs under blue, red, and black paper. So while buying bedsheets, couches, and luggage, just remember that bedbugs have the fashion preferences of Avril Lavigne circa 2003.
But yellow luggage will only do so much to deter bedbugs, obviously. If you’re worried about the blood suckers, check out our tips for avoiding them while traveling. Or just never leave the house.