Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Light?

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Often in the summer months, we have to deal with mosquitoes. These tiny flies cause itchy bites and transmit dengue fever, Zika virus, malaria, and other diseases. 

There are several ways to keep mosquitoes away from your space. However, one question often arises is whether mosquitoes are attracted to light.

If you are wondering if mosquitoes are attracted to light, read this guide until the end. The article explains what light-type mosquitoes are attracted to and what not.

Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Light?

The answer is not straightforward. However, we can say that certain mosquitoes are drawn to light. Though not in the same manner that other insects do. 

There are about 3,600 species of mosquitoes. And only day-biting mosquitoes enchant with light. After all, the light helps them look for their food. They get attracted to different hues of lights at various times of the day. However, LED lights do not repel them.

On the other hand, night-biting mosquitoes do not like the light much. You will notice that they are more active during the evening and early morning. They are photophobic to short-wavelength light in the spectrum of light.

are mosquitoes attracted to light

A team at the Irvine School of Medicine at the University of California researched mosquito species that bite in the daytime and at night. 

According to a study, day-biting mosquitoes get attracted to different light spectra ranges of a day. On the contrary, night-biting mosquitoes are photophobic to short wavelengths.

Another study reports that female mosquitoes that survive on blood for fertilizing eggs are drawn to light. While evening-biting mosquitoes avoid UV and blue light during the day.

According to Charles Van Rees, Ph.D. Naturalist, LED lights do not attract mosquitoes. A cooler-colored LED light might attract a lot of bugs and insects, but not mosquitos. 

Insects and spiders around LEDs are a common scene. However, you will not see mosquitoes around an LED light. Mosquitoes get attracted to light that produces heat and ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Since LED lights do not produce UV rays and give off only negligible heat, mosquitoes do not prefer hovering around these lights.

When it comes to colors, mosquitoes repel red and tangerine-shade colors. These colors can attract night-biting mosquitoes while they are on their hunt. 

Mosquitoes are infamous disease carriers that affect the lives of both animals and humans worldwide.

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Reasons Mosquitoes Attract to Light

Several people know that mosquitoes attract blood, carbon dioxide, and body odors. However, do they attract light? Let us find out.

Mosquitoes are not attracted to a light source for the reasons spiders do. Neither the light provides a cozy environment to mosquitoes nor do they eat insects. So why do they get attracted?  Below are a few possible reasons.

Navigation

A light source acts as a navigation tool for mosquitoes. They use light sources to search for their food. They even use the position of the sun and Earth’s magnetic field to navigate. 

When there is an artificial light source nearby, it can interfere with mosquitoes’ ability to use these signals. Thus they can become disoriented and possibly draw to light sources. Therefore, you can see night-biting mosquitoes around bright light.

UV Light

Another possible reason for mosquitoes roaming around your light is that it has UVC radiation. Yes, some species of mosquitoes are attracted to UV light. And the Aedes mosquito is one of that species. UV lights work as a signal for mosquitoes that there is food nearby. 

This is a primary reason UV-based mosquito repellent devices are popular in the market. UV lights attract mosquitoes, while the high-voltage electrostatic shock inside kills them

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Mating Behavior

Some mosquito species that remain active during the daytime get attracted to bright colors. It happens because sometimes mosquitoes perceive them as potential mating signals. While this behavior is not necessarily linked to light. However, it can cause mosquitoes to gather around bright objects, including a light source.

Heat

If lights at your place emit heat level mosquitoes are comfortable with, you will see many mosquitoes. 

The reason mosquitoes attract heat sources is that they like warm-blooded humans and animals. They take heat as a sign of the presence of humans and animals.

Mosquitoes Prefer a Certain Color of Lights

There are pieces of evidence that suggest mosquitoes captivate by specific wavelengths of light. They love red, cyan, black, and orange colors. However, they ignore colors like green, purple, blue, and white. This is not a universal rule, however. Different species of mosquitoes have distinct preferences.

As per some entomologists certain mosquitoes might be captivated by darker colors. Lights with deeply saturated colors, such as dark red, brown, black, navy blue, etc., might attract mosquitoes.

are mosquitoes attracted to light

Ways to Prevent Mosquitos

As soon as the temperature rises, mosquitoes start irritating humans and animals. Their bites can be itchy and can even transmit diseases. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent mosquitoes in your area.

Below are some tried and tested methods to control the growth of mosquitoes.

Remove Habitats of Mosquitoes 

You must have heard the saying Prevention is better than cure. If we can easily prevent them, why kill them? One simple way to do this is by removing their habitat. 

Eliminate standing water from pools, fountains, rain barrels, and all places where it may accumulate.

No matter what species of mosquito is, its larvae and pupae live in clean water. So if you do not let water accumulate in your place, they won’t breed. In fact, it is one of the clever ways to keep all types of bugs away.

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Use UV-based Mosquito Repellent

UV mosquito repellents are getting popular worldwide. They are one of the convenient ways to kill mosquitos or keep them away. 

A UV mosquito repellent device attracts mosquitoes with light. There is a mosquito-trapping lamp fixed inside that causes an attractive effect on mosquitoes. As mosquitoes come inside the device, they get killed with high-voltage electrostatic shock.

Avoid Peak Mosquito Hours

There is a specific time of day when mosquitoes are more active and crave food.  Howard Russell, M.S.,an entomologist says mosquitos exhibit greater activity levels during dusk and dawn. So if you can stay inside during these times, you can prevent mosquito bites.

Use Natural Repellent

There are several well-known natural mosquito repellents you can try. Lemon eucalyptus oil, lavender flowers, cinnamon oil, and thyme oil are some tested and tried repellents. You can apply them to your skin and clothing to prevent mosquito bites.    

EPA recommends reading mosquito labels carefully before applying them. Also, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for better and safe use.  

Try Using Mosquito Repelling Candles

Mosquito-repelling candles contain essential oils like citronella, lemongrass, and eucalyptus, which repel mosquitoes. Lighting these candles releases the scent of the oils into the air, creating a barrier that mosquitoes are less likely to cross. 

However, these candles are not as powerful as mosquito nets or sprays. Generally, effectiveness varies based on the concentration of essential oils. Also, the size of the area being protected matters a lot.

mosquito repelling candles

Plant Mosquito-repelling Plants Around

If you plant mosquito-repelling plants around your house, it can help keep mosquitoes away. These plants have natural compounds like citronella that mosquitoes do not like.

When these plants are crushed or their leaves are rubbed, they release compounds into the air keeping mosquitoes away. These plants can also help hide the smell of people, making it harder for mosquitoes to find you.

Nevertheless, the effectiveness of these plants can vary depending on the type of plant. You can use these plants with mosquito repellents to ensure maximum protection. Some common mosquito-repelling plants are citronella, lavender, basil, lemongrass, rosemary, etc.

Use Yellow Bug Lights Outdoors

Yellow bug lights are outdoor lights, designed to be less attractive to insects, including mosquitoes. These lights emit a warm, yellow light that is less intense than traditional white lights. Moreover, they have a lower output of ultraviolet (UV) light, which is known to attract insects.

Mosquitoes are able to detect UV light more easily than humans. By emitting less UV light, yellow bug lights are less likely to attract mosquitoes and other flying insects like moths and flies.

Conclusion

All-in-all, we can say that mosquitoes do not attract light primarily. Nevertheless, they do attract certain types of light sources in particular situations. Since mosquitoes have compound eyes, they can detect movement and changes in the level of light.

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