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Experts Recently Discovered That Bed Bugs Have Strong Color Preferences, And This Finding May Lead To More Effective Bed Bug Control Methods

April 15th, 2020

Bed bugs are a bane to our human existence, with the little pests making their way through people’s homes all across the country. Georgia has a particularly bad bed bug problem, with Atlanta being ranked the 10th most bed bug-plagued city in the United States. The state could use some help when it comes to controlling bed bug pests. Luckily, new research reveals bed bugs actually prefer certain colors over others. This color preference could lead to professionals and people in general being able to better control these horrid insect invaders.

A recent study delved into the color preferences of bed bugs. The scientists involved created tent-like shelters of various colors, which they placed in a laboratory setting to see which ones the bed bugs they used in the experiment gravitated towards. At first the researchers thought they would run to any harborage they could get to fast enough to hide. However, they were surprised to find that when there was light present that could possibly reveal the bed bugs, they would actually select which shelter to run to depending on its color.

Red is one of the major colors bed bugs will run to, but not for the reasons researchers initially believed. They first thought bed bugs sought out red because that is the color of blood, but after finishing the study, the researchers concluded that they seek out red colors because they themselves appear red, so they seek out the color red because other bed bugs are more likely there. A wide number of factors influenced the bed bugs’ color preferences, with those preferences changing as they grow older, whether they are alone or with a group, whether they are satiated or hungry, and even whether it is a male or female bed bug doing the choosing. There are a few consistent color preferences, though, even with all the variables. In general, bed bugs seem to prefer red and black and tend to avoid yellow and green hues.

This could certainly help in bed bug control methods. Bed bug traps could be enhanced by producing them in certain colors known to attract bed bugs. This isn’t meant to be a one-stop fix, however, but colored traps would ideally be used in conjunction with other bed bug control methods such as adding pheromones or carbon dioxide to these colored traps in order to increase the number of bugs caught.

Have you ever had a bed bug infestation and noticed them appearing on items of a particular color?

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