If you live in a city, some of your worst nightmares probably involve getting bedbugs. They spread easily, you can barely see them, and getting rid of them for good is harder than ending it with your on-again-off-again college boyfriend—and way more expensive.
Keeping them out of your bedroom to begin with is your best protection against the tiny buggers, and a new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology just uncovered a surprising way to repel them.
Apparently, bedbugs are attracted to some colors more than others. For the study, researchers placed paper tents in eight different shades inside Petri dishes, dropped a bedbug in the center, and gave it 10 minutes to choose where to run for cover. Nearly a third of the time (29 percent), the bedbugs hid in the red tent, and about a quarter of the time (23 percent), they chose the black tent. They tended to avoid the green and yellow tents.
The scientists aren’t 100 percent sure why they favored certain colors and shunned others, but, “the main reason we think they preferred red is because bedbugs themselves appear red, so they go to these harborages because they want to be with other bedbugs, as they are known to exist in aggregations,” writes study co-author Corraine McNeill, Ph.D., a biology professor at Union College in Nebraska.
Sadly, the color of your bedding alone probably won’t protect you from an infestation, but it couldn’t hurt to avoid black and red sheets. (Hey, we don’t know about you, but we’re on board with any move that’ll decrease the risk, because, ick.) The more important takeaway: The study authors surmise that their discovery could increase the effectiveness of future bedbug traps. Take that, you nasty little suckers!