They may not be
picky about thread counts, but it turns out bed bugs have
pretty specific tastes when it comes to the color of your sheets.
In a new study published online in the Journal of Medical Entomology,
researchers examined which colors common bed bugs prefer by placing
tiny pieces of cardstock in eight different colours inside Petri dishes. A
bed bug, dropped in the middle, had 10 minutes to decide which one to
hide under. The top two color choices: red and black.
Red, which bed bugs chose about 29 percent of the time, may signal the presence of other bed bugs.
originally thought the bed bugs might prefer red because blood is red
and that's what they feed on," said study co-author Corraine McNeill,
assistant professor of biology at Union College in Nebraska, in a statement.
"However, after doing the study, the main reason we think they
preferred red is because bed bugs themselves appear red, so they go to
these harborage because they want to be with other bed bugs."
Apparently, bed bugs like to cuddle (in your red sheets).
came in close second, with bugs choosing the hue 23 percent of the
time. Scientists hypothesize this is because the bugs naturally seek
darkness: Bed bugs are mostly nocturnal and hide out in the corners of
mattresses and other nooks and crannies before coming out to snack on
blood, reports Newsweek.
"Insects use visual cues
for a wide variety of behaviors including, but not limited to,
recognizing hosts, finding mates, ovipositing [laying eggs], and seeking
shelter," researchers write in the study. "The visual cues are often
based on the perception of color."
you have yellow or green sheets, you're in luck. The bed bugs seemed to
dislike these colors, possibly because they resemble the brightly-lit
areas the insects tend to avoid, according to a press release from the
Entomological Society of America.
to burn your red and black sheets? Put down the matches. Scientists
suggest holding off on destroying linens based on their color — for now.