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What Colors Are Bed Bugs Attracted To?

Picture of bed bug size compared to a dime

Bed bug size compared to a dime

A recent study on bed bugs provided evidence that bed bugs are attracted to certain colors when they seek harborage sites or when foraging for a blood meal.

In general, beg bugs preferred red and black, rather than yellow, orange, green, lilac and violet.

Harborage color preferences change according to the bed bug’s gender, nutritional status, aggregation, and life stage.

Are male vs. female bed bugs attracted to different colors?

  • Female bed bugs prefer harborages with shorter wavelengths such as lilac and violet.

  • The proportion of eggs laid by females was significantly greater under blue, red, and black harborages compared to other colored harborages tested.

  • Males prefer harborages with longer wavelengths such as red and black.

Do bed bugs prefer different colors after eating?

  • The preference for orange and violet harborages is stronger when bed bugs are fed as opposed to when they are starved.

What are bed bug nymphs attracted to?

  • Bed bug nymphs preferred different colored harborages at each stage of development, which is indicative of their developing eye structures and pigments.

  • First instar nymphs showed no significant preference for any colored harborage soon after hatching; however, by the fifth instar, nymphs significantly preferred red and black harborage, similar to the preferences of adult bed bugs.

So, why is color preference important? This research establishes the potential relationships between color and bed bug behavior, plus gives bed bug pest management professionals the opportunity to greatly improve monitoring and trapping tools.

What colors attract bed bugs?

Bed bugs prefer black and red shelters more than white and yellow because darker colors offer better protection from predators.

Bed bugs might mistake red and black colored harborages for their other bed bug buddies since bed bugs prefer to harbor in clusters, rather than individually.

Lone bed bugs prefer to be in black harborages while red harborages appear to be the optimum harborage color for bed bugs in more natural mixed aggregations.

What colors do bed bugs hate?

Yellow and green harborages seemed to repel bed bugs. The authors suggested that bed bugs avoided yellow and green colors since those colors resemble areas of intense lighting, rather than darker reds and blacks.

How to Prevent Bed Bug Infestations

Bed bugs are great travelers as they can hitch rides to a new home on infested furniture, bedding, clothing and luggage. Once a bed bug infestation begins, it can be extremely difficult to control. The best way to steer clear of these pesky invaders is to take as many precautions as possible to prevent bed bugs from entering your home in the first place. Here are a few best practices you can do to keep your home pest-free:

  • Reduce clutter to prevent potential bed bug hiding spots.

  • Thoroughly check secondhand furniture or luggage before bringing anything inside your home.

  • For protection from bed bugs, encase your mattress and box spring in a protective cover to reduce areas that bed bugs enjoy calling home, such as seams and zippers.

  • Keep up with cleaning and vacuuming to avoid bed bugs.

  • If you use a shared laundry facility, prevent bringing bed bugs home by using plastic bags for transport. Keep an eye out for any possible bed bug prior to using one of the machines and make sure to put the dryer on the highest heat setting possible to kill any potential invader.

If you’re experiencing bed bugs, you should immediately contact your Orkin branch for an inspection, consultation and customized solution. Your Orkin Pros are trained to address any current bed bug infestations, as well as implement solutions to help prevent future issues. By using the latest technology, we can help protect your family with an effective bed bug treatment suited to your specific needs. We're experts at recognizing the many signs of bed bugs, what attracts bed bugs and how to repel bed bugs from your home.

To learn more about bed bug prevention and removal, contact your local Orkin branch.


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