People who live in bedrooms with color schemes favored by seedy bachelors and Hot Topic-loving teens may have yet another reason to redecorate: bed bugs.
According to new research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, the loathsome fuckers prefer to hide in shelter that’s colored red and black. Greens, yellows, and whites, on the other hand, seem to turn them off, so if you like Easter-themed and/or vomit-colored decor, you’re probably in the clear.
To test the color preferences, researchers created tiny, tent-like “harborages”—shelters—out of colored paper. After placing the differently colored tents in a single petri dish, researchers put a bed bug in the middle of the dish and gave it 10 minutes to figure out where it wanted to hide.
All told, the red harborages “were significantly preferred compared with all other colored harborages except black,” the study found. There were some differences in color preference when it came to variations in sex, age, and hunger levels, but the overall preference for red and black stayed relatively consistent. It had previously been thought that bed bugs would go just about anywhere to hide, according to the study, but these results appear to show that that’s not necessarily the case.
“We originally thought the bed bugs might prefer red because blood is red and that’s what they feed on,” Corraine McNeill, one of the study’s authors, said in a press release. “However, after doing the study, the main reason we think they preferred red colors is because bed bug themselves appear red, so they go to these harborages because they want to be with other bed bugs.” Even bed bugs get lonely sometimes. How nice.
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According to McNeill, we shouldn’t necessarily burn our red sheets just yet, because these findings may be more relevant to traps and other methods of control. “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,” she said.
But you know what? Bed bugs are the fucking worst, and they’re getting harder to kill. I will take no chances with those blood-sucking beasts. Science may warn me against jumping to conclusions, but I can decorate my bedroom however I please, and it will contain no reds or blacks from now on. I encourage you all to do the same, so that we can avoid the terrible scourge of bugs that live in your bed and bite you while you sleep.