Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Light and Why?

Many insect species are known to be attracted to UV light, hence its use in bug zappers. The light emitted by zappers acts as an irresistible lure to a wide range of bugs, which sizzle to death on contact with the electrified devices. The problem is, that mosquitoes aren’t one of them.

Mosquitoes may not be attracted to light in the same way that other insects are, rendering bug zappers a useless method of mosquito control. But are mosquitoes attracted to any type of light and, if so, why?

What attracts mosquitoes to humans?

Let’s start off by talking about what mosquitoes are attracted to. As everyone knows, mosquitoes feed on the blood of humans and other animals. Therefore, their tracking skills are honed to help them find us. They use a wide variety of senses to do this, and can pick up on body heat and the smell of human sweat. Mosquitoes are also attracted to CO2 which we emit in large quantities every time we breathe out.

Are mosquitoes attracted to light?

Some mosquitoes are thought to be attracted to light, but different species are attracted to different types of light.

To make things more complicated, different mosquito species and sexes are attracted to light at different times of the day, and are also sometimes repelled by light.

One study found that day-biting mosquitoes are attracted to a variety of light colors during the day, whereas night-biting species were repelled by UV and blue light during the day.

Why are mosquitoes attracted to light?

Certain types of mosquitoes may be attracted to light because it gives them their cue to go out and search for blood. However, this is probably only true for day-biting mosquitoes. Mosquitoes species that are primarily active at night will avoid UV and blue light because they typically rest during daytime hours.

What type of light are mosquitoes attracted to?

Mosquitoes that bite in the daytime are attracted to a wide spectra of light during the day. This is especially true of female mosquitoes, who require a blood meal to produce their eggs. These mosquito species use daylight as a cue to get out and find people and animals that are also active in the daytime. However, they don’t use light as a means of tracking down their prey. Instead, they pick up on CO2 emissions, heat, body odor, moisture and visual cues to find people and animals to bite.

What type of light are mosquitoes not attracted to?

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Night-biting mosquitoes are strongly repelled by UV light and blue light. This is because these insects are primarily active after sunset, and will rest during the day to avoid the dehydrating effects of the sun.

How can you stop mosquitoes from biting you?

Bug zappers are more or less ineffective against mosquitoes, as they aren’t attracted to UV light in the same way that other insects are. The best way to avoid mosquito bites is to use repellent products, and to stop them from accessing your skin.

Use an insect repellent spray

Bug sprays containing DEET or picaridin are highly effective mosquito repellents, and can prevent bites for up to 8 hours. Natural alternatives often contain essential oils, such as lemon eucalyptus. Use insect repellent sprays if you plan to venture outside at dawn or dusk, when many mosquito species are most active.

Wear long, loose-fitting clothes

Another effective way to prevent mosquito bites is to deny them access to your skin.

Wear long, loose-fitting clothing to prevent mosquitoes from making contact with your flesh, especially during the hours around dawn and dusk.

Sleep under a mosquito net

Night-biting mosquitoes can terrorize you while you sleep. Some DEET-containing insect repellent sprays remain active for up to 8 hours, but the only way to completely avoid night-time bites is to sleep under a mosquito net. When positioned correctly (with no gaps) a net will create a protective zone around you that will keep you safe from bites as you sleep.

Install bug screens

If you live in an area with high mosquito numbers, you need to keep the insects out of your house as much as possible. Installing screens around your doors and windows is an effective way to keep critters out.

Use mosquito coils and repellent candles

If you plan to sit outdoors in the evening, you may want to create a mosquito-free zone around you. Mosquito coils and citronella candles can help to keep mosquitoes out of your vicinity and can help to prevent bites.

Stay indoors at dawn and dusk

Most insect species are highly active at dawn and dusk, so this is when you’re most likely to be bitten. You can avoid the majority of bites by staying indoors at these times of day, and applying bug spray and/or protective clothing before you venture outside.

Conclusion

Mosquitoes are not necessarily attracted to light. Instead, they use light to regulate their behaviors and activity. For example, mosquitoes that bite in the daytime are attracted to a wide spectrum of light, because they target prey that is active during daylight hours. Mosquitoes that bite at night, however, are strongly repelled by UV and blue light, as this is an indication that the sun is up and they should be resting.

Insect-killing devices (such as bug zappers) that emit UV light are largely ineffective against mosquitoes and other biting insects, because they don’t gravitate towards light in the same way other insects do. Instead, they use a range of other senses to track down their prey, and are attracted to heat, body odor, moisture, visual cues and CO2 emissions.

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