How the Color of Your Bed Sheets Can Attract Bed Bugs

July 26th 2016

Almie Rose

How do you know if you have bed bugs? Is it like being in love? Do you just know?

Well, if your bed sheets are one of these colors, you may find out. Because, apparently, bed bugs have color preferences. Super!

In a study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, scientists wanted to know if bed bug "adults" and "nymphs" had preferred colors, so they set up color-coded harborages (basically, shelters for pests) to see which colors were the most popular. Here's what they found.

bed bug skins

If your sheets are red or black:

Red and black are "optimal" colors for bed bugs. Time to get new sheets!

If your sheets are yellow or green:

These colors appeared to "repel" the bugs, so they are much better choices.

If your sheets are orange or violet:

These colors are preferred among bed bugs who are full, as opposed to starving. How fun for you!

Apparently, color preferences can change depending on the gender, age, and how hungry they are.

But generally, you're better off sticking with a light color over a dark one.

Why do bed bugs prefer darker colors?

"It's hard to know what bedbugs are 'thinking,' if we can use that terminology," Dr. Roberto M. Pereira, one of the researchers on the project told CNN. But he has a theory.

Bright colors make it harder for the bugs to blend into their surroundings and "the more exposed these insects are, the more they lose water, and if they lose too much, they will die or have to feed again," he said. Best to stick with white sheets.

hotel room

Although baby bed bugs are transparent, and thus can blend into pretty much any surrounding. That's just a fun fact for you to think about as you're falling asleep.

What do I do if I have bed bugs?

Keep in mind that bed bugs do not cause disease. But they can cause terrible itching, an allergic reaction for some, and a general sense of unease for all. If you think you have bed bugs, Bed Bug Central recommends de-cluttering your space, especially under your bed, so the bed bugs have nowhere to hide.

Then, wash your sheets. You don't actually have to throw them out, because bed bugs die in high heat. "All stages of bed bugs including the eggs can be killed by exposing them to temperatures in excess of 120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least twenty minutes," Bed Bug Central states. "Hot laundering can be a highly effective method for dealing with any item that can be safely placed in a clothes dryer on high heat."