We all have specific colors we are drawn to, and according to a recent study, apparently, so do bedbugs. It turns out, they quite like darker colors, like black and dark red; and are appalled by lighter colors like yellow and white. The study was published on April 25th, in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
The study team placed bedbugs in Petri dishes, which had – believe or not – miniature tents made from a variety of paper in different colors. As the bugs made their way to the shelters, they tended to the ones that were red and black, versus the yellow, white, or green bug-sized tents.
Roberto Pereira, University of Florida, and who was part of the research team noted that he and his colleagues joked about the fact that they would now purchase yellow luggage to travel with, as the annoying little insects might refrain from entering their bags and laying their eggs. Pereira goes on to state that one of the common ways people get bedbugs is travel; and staying at a hotel where there is an infestation. More often than not, the bugs get into your bags, lay their eggs, and travelers end up returning home with a bunch of new visitors and friends. Pereira does say that light-colored luggage can help avoid this, but since bedbugs are drawn to the dark, there is a chance they will find a dark crevice in your suitcase to hide in anyways.
Still, Dawn Gouge, from the University of Arizona, who did not participate in the research, has other advice to avoid infestation. She suggests luggage with exteriors that are hard, and recommends to avoid bringing your bags into the hotel at all. Her advice? Simply unpack your items while in the garage, and repack them at the end of your stay. She also notes that she checks her rooms for bedbugs while travelling, and the best sign is reddish-stained sheets. Although she goes on to say that less than one percent of motels or hotels have bedbug infestations, and it can be challenging to spot this at times.
Why do bedbugs prefer darker colors?
CNN reported that the explanation seems to be instinct. Pereira notes that darker colors provide the protection needed against potential predators. It might also be the fact that they are mistaking the dark colors for other bedbugs, as these insects like to stay together. Lastly, Pereira states that the lighter colors expose the bedbugs to more light, thus they lose water; causing them to die.