If you’ve never had a bed bug infestation, count yourself extremely lucky. The critters are becoming increasingly resistant to insecticides and as a result, causing so much more havoc, meaning entire carpets, beds and couches have to be thrown away.
This year, researchers may have stumbled on a potential way to prevent infestations occurring in the first place by studying the bugs’ preferences for different colours.
The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Florida and Union College in Lincoln. A bed bug was placed in the middle of a Petri dish and given ten minutes to choose one of the coloured shelters.
A few variations of the test were also conducted, such as testing bed bugs in different life stages, of different sexes, individual bugs versus groups of bugs, and fed bugs versus hungry bugs.
The results showed the bed bugs strongly preferred red and black, and they seemed to avoid colours like green and yellow.
These experiments show bed bugs will select a harbourage based on its colour when moving in the light.
‘We originally thought the bed bugs might prefer red because blood is red and that’s what they feed on,’ said Dr Corraine McNeill, one of the co-authors.
‘However, after doing the study, the main reason we think they preferred red colours is because bed bugs themselves appear red, so they go to these harbourages because they want to be with other bed bugs, as they are known to exist in aggregations.’
In light of these results, people might be tempted to throw out their red and black sheets in place of yellow and green ones. Will YOU be changing your sheets?
Although the thought of this may give you a bit of an itch, Dr McNeil told our source: ‘I don’t know how far I would go to say don’t get a red suitcase or red sheets, but the research hasn’t been done yet, so we can’t really rule that out completely.’
The findings from the full study are published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
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