Colors are not guaranteed to repel bugs, and research is vague and incomplete on the subject. Rather, most insects are attracted to objects regardless of color. However, some factors go into a color that can help deter some types of bugs. Various bugs use color to detect food, mates, or potential predators. Most insects don’t see perceive colors in the same spectrum as humans or other animals, therefore it can be difficult to predict their behaviors in regards to just colors.
UV light is a proven attractor of bugs including most flying insects like moths and beetles. Some paints can reflect light more brightly than others- which can draw in more insects. Bright colors like yellow, orange and blue can attract bees for their flower-imitating properties. These colors also reflect light rather than absorbing it, which could also attract flying bugs.
Painting your deck a bright green, or even some darker blues, may be able to help deter bugs because they don’t register on the UV spectrum
While darker colors may save you from bees and beetles, they can attract a different monster- mosquitos. Mosquitos see colors differently than most insects and can pick up shades outside of the UV spectrum. Therefore, using brighter colors like white, yellow, and blue can repel these pests a little more effectively.
Flies are one of the only bugs that are actively affected by colors. While designing more effective fly traps, researchers from the University of Florida found that flies are attracted to blue tones and repelled by warm tones like yellow. More studies confirmed the correlation between blue lights and fly attraction.
Birds are not in the insect category, but they get an honorable mention for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage they do to homes and roofs every year. A confused bird can break windows and damage siding.
Bright colors like red and yellow can attract most birds like hummingbirds, orioles, blue jays, warbles, and goldfinches looking for food. But darker colors in the gray and blue category can appeal to cautious birds like doves, quail, and other ground-feeding birds. The one color that repels most birds is white- which is not a natural color for protection or food.
Picking certain paint colors can potentially reduce and repel the number of bugs you see around your home but is not guaranteed as a form of pest control. When choosing a color, there will always be a compromise. While a darker color may deter some beetles, bees, and wasps; it can attract pesky mosquitos and flies. Vice versa with a bright color like white or yellow. Note that pests like spiders and scorpions are not included in these generalizations, as they are more attracted to places of protection and are predators that don’t need to rely on plant color for food.
When choosing a paint color for your deck, siding, or overall exterior- go with a shade that you will enjoy looking at for years to come. Experts at the Painting Company can help with color consultations to fit your needs and design preferences.