The role of olfactory cues such as carbon dioxide, pheromones, and kairomones in bed bug, Cimex lectularius L. behavior has been demonstrated. However, the role of vision and mechanoreception in bed bug behavior is poorly understood. We investigated bed bug vision by determining their responses to different colors, vertical objects, and their ability to detect colors and vertical objects under low and complete dark conditions. Results show black and red paper harborages are preferred compared to yellow, green, blue, and white harborages. A bed bug trapping device with a black or red exterior surface was significantly more attractive to bed bugs than that with a white exterior surface. Bed bugs exhibited strong orientation behavior toward vertical objects. The height (15 vs. 30 cm tall) and color (brown vs. black) of the vertical object had no significant effect on orientation behavior of bed bugs. Bed bugs could differentiate color and detect vertical objects at very low background light conditions, but not in complete darkness. Bed bug preference to different substrate textures (mechanoreception) was also explored. Bed bugs preferred dyed tape compared to painted tape, textured painted plastic, and felt. These results revealed that substrate color, presence of vertical objects, and substrate texture affect host-seeking and harborage-searching behavior of bed bugs. Bed bugs may use a combination of vision, mechanoreception, and chemoreception to locate hosts and seek harborages.
Singh, N., Wang, C., & Cooper, R. (2015). Role of vision and mechanoreception in bed bug, cimex lectularius L. Behavior. PLoS ONE, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0118855