If you’ve ever tried using a bug zapper to get rid of pesky mosquitoes, you’ve probably wondered if it works because the mosquitoes are attracted to the light.
It’s actually not quite as simple as that.
Do mosquitoes like light? While mosquitoes are generally drawn to light, several factors influence attraction, including the light’s color, time of day, and mosquito species and gender. UV light attracts day-biting mosquitoes, but night biters are drawn to heat and carbon dioxide.
If you’re trying to manage mosquitoes at your home or business, read on to find out what different types of mosquitoes are attracted to and what will repel them.
Once you know what draws in mosquitoes and what keeps them away, you’ll be better prepared to fend off mosquitoes and keep yourself from being covered in itchy, raised bumps.
Be sure to check with our article “How To Get Rid of Mosquitoes” for a complete prevention guide and to see which products are most effective for eliminating these pests from your home and yard.
What Are Mosquitoes Attracted To?
In general, mosquitoes are attracted to light, but of course, it is dependent on the time of day as well as the species and gender of the mosquito.
There are three main categories of mosquitoes that can be sorted by the time of day when they are active and biting.
- Anopheles mosquitoes are night biters.
- Aedes mosquitoes are day biters.
- Culex mosquitoes are sunset biters.
Broken down like this, you can see that there are mosquitoes actively biting at all times of day and night.
If you’re having a problem with mosquitoes in your area, getting to know what attracts different types of mosquitoes at different times of day can help you to choose the right method in dealing with them.
First, let’s briefly address the fact that female mosquitoes are the biters.
Why Do Only Female Mosquitoes Bite?
The female mosquitoes bite in order to gather up blood to help support the development of their fertilized eggs.
Cleaning and treating the areas where mosquitoes are most likely to lay eggs (read this article to learn where) can help to dramatically reduce the local population.
Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Light-Colored Clothing?
The Aedes mosquitoes, the day biters, are more drawn to reflected light so they will be more likely to hang around you if you’re wearing light-colored clothing.
Ironically, more people tend to wear light-colored clothing in hot weather to try to stay cool.
However, mosquitoes are also attracted to green, blue, violet, and ultraviolet, which is why you’ll see these colors used in light traps.
Can mosquitoes bite through your clothes? Find the answer here.
Does UV Light Attract Mosquitoes?
That bright violet light you see in bug zappers and mosquito traps is a UV light, as these are known to draw in mosquitoes.
However, there are other components to the mosquito trap that differentiate them from bug zappers, since it takes more than just UV light to grab their attention.
Are Mosquitoes Drawn to Bug Zappers?
One of the most common methods for trying to manage mosquitoes is using a bug zapper.
The philosophy behind these is that using an ultraviolet light will draw in the mosquitoes and zap or electrocute them.
When you use one of these, you’ll know when a bug is in the trap from the zapping sound.
However, a study found that while the day-biting variety of mosquitoes was attracted to areas with these bug zappers, they often were not going into the zappers and instead were wreaking more havoc in the area.
Typically, it’s other types of bugs that you’re hearing get zapped.
That UV light may help with the day-biting variety of mosquitoes. However, the night-biting variety actually avoids ultraviolet and blue light.
So a traditional bug zapper won’t be very effective for ridding yourself of the night biters.
Thankfully, they are not actively biting during the day so they shouldn’t be too bothersome, but if you plan on being outside at night, you’ll want to find a different method to manage them.
This article explains where mosquitoes like to hide. Knowing their favorite hiding spots can help you plan a more aggressive approach to management.
Are Mosquito Traps More Effective?
For tackling your mosquito issue, there are traps made specifically for attracting mosquitoes.
Like bug zappers, these mosquito traps use ultraviolet light, but they also incorporate heat and carbon dioxide.
There are several things that attract the attention of mosquitoes in addition to light:
- Carbon dioxide.
This is why you most often notice yourself getting bitten up by mosquitoes when you’re outside on hot summer days.
For these day biters, a bug zapper could do the trick as it will attract the day-biting mosquitoes, however, they may not enter the zapper.
A mosquito trap, like this best-selling 2-in-1 trap, offers a fuller range of components to attract the mosquitoes inside.
With the combined heat from the UV light in a mosquito-attracting color and pulse-width modulation, which gives the trap its flickering effect, you have the perfect recipe for drawing in mosquitoes.
What Repels Mosquitoes?
Anyone who’s gotten mosquito bites knows how mercilessly itchy they can be.
On top of the discomfort, mosquito bites can also spread disease, so managing your local mosquito population is essential for your health and well-being.
There are mosquito repellent products on the market; however, some are full of chemicals and may not be appealing to everyone.
- You could use a citronella candle – This is one of the most common non-chemical methods for repelling mosquitoes. This large candle will burn for up to 35 hours.
- Run a fan nearby – Since mosquitoes are drawn to carbon dioxide, it makes sense that diffusing carbon dioxide with a fan would be helpful.
- Make a mosquito-repellent luminary – If you’re crafty, you can make your own DIY mosquito-repellent luminaries using fresh citrus and herbs. These will smell wonderful while keeping the mosquitoes at bay.
- Add mosquito-repellent plants to the area – You could also plant some mosquito-repelling plants and herbs in your yard. Basil, peppermint, lavender, and geranium work great for this.
Scents Mosquitoes Hate
You probably know that wearing perfume or scented lotion tends to attract mosquitoes and let them know lunch has arrived.
For this reason, you may be tempted to only use unscented products to avoid getting attacked.
On the other hand, there are certain scents that mosquitoes are known to dislike.
If you are planning on having a barbecue or spending time outdoors, you may want to utilize these scents to keep the mosquitoes away.
Citronella candles are one of the most commonly used scented items to manage a mosquito problem.
If you’ve ever used these before, then you’re familiar with the citronella scent, which isn’t necessarily the most pleasant.
Thankfully, there are other scents that repel mosquitoes but are more enjoyable to most people.
We carefully reviewed some of the most popular mosquito candles for effectiveness. See which candles are the best here.
Common Seasonings and Herbs
Garlic, basil, and rosemary are not appealing to mosquitoes, so if you’re having a cookout, you may want to incorporate these delicious, aromatic spices in your food.
Lavender, lemongrass, and bergamot are all fresh, pleasant scents that will help keep mosquitoes away.
You can burn candles with these scents, make a scented spray, or mix them with a carrier oil like almond oil and apply them directly to your skin as a mosquito-repellent perfume.
Much better than citronella!
Peppermint is known to repel mosquitoes along with many other insects.
You could throw some fresh mint leaves into your iced tea or lemonade when you’re sitting outside to keep bugs from swarming around your beverages.
You can even put a few drops of peppermint oil, like this 100% pure essential oil, on a cotton ball and place it nearby to keep the mosquitoes and other insects away.
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Since mosquitoes are repelled by such a wide variety of scents, it may be wise to pick up an essential oils set that contains scents that these pesky bugs hate.
That way, if you run out of one scent, you always have several others on standby.
This set of 30 contains rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, bergamot, and peppermint, along with 13 other scents that are perfect for aromatherapy.
Mosquitoes and Light: Only Part of the Equation
Stopping mosquitoes from feasting on you involves the use of a UV light, preferably in a mosquito trap over a bug zapper.
The heat and carbon dioxide work together with the light to provide the most powerful attraction for mosquitoes.
Add some mosquito-repellent plants in your yard along with wearing mosquitoes’ most-hated scents on your skin, and you’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors bite free.
Looking for more helpful mosquito information and effective tips to banish them from your yard? Click here to see our full lineup of mosquito-control guides and elimination techniques.