Several insects can often be seen hovering around a light source, especially in dark areas or at night. Moths are famous for this. You may wonder if mosquitoes are one of these insects, and if turning the light off in your sleeping area would help.
Are mosquitoes attracted to light?
No, mosquitoes are not attracted to light. Here are the basics:
- Mosquitoes are not attracted to light. Light sometimes disorients them, depending on the kind of light.
- They are mostly drawn to odors, particularly the carbon dioxide humans breathe during respiration.
- The level of carbon dioxide determines how many mosquitoes are drawn. Hence larger humans or ones with higher metabolism attract more mosquitoes because they breathe out more carbon dioxide.
This article will address if mosquitoes are drawn to light or not, highlight what they are drawn to, and discuss precautions to avoid getting bitten.
Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Light?
Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes are not attracted to light. They even avoid some light sources, as it disorients them. Mosquitoes rely partly on their sense of vision, for which they need a clear image of things. Their two eyes are made up of thousands of lenses, and have they powerful vision.
However, they depend on their highly developed nose to pick up scents and other senses to navigate their surroundings.
Mosquitoes are somewhat nocturnal; they are most active at dawn and twilight, and at night when the light is at its lowest intensity. During the day, mosquitoes avoid sunlight by perching in quiet, shady areas.
Does Light Repel Mosquitoes?
Although light does not attract mosquitoes, it doesn’t exactly repel them either. They need it at low intensity to navigate from one point to the other.
Due to their inability to perceive light the same way humans do, they navigate by using natural light other than the sun — the moon and the stars. It serves as their guide in finding their hosts.
On the other hand, artificial light is too close and intense for mosquitoes to navigate seamlessly. Although they can often use artificial light to travel, it sometimes disorients them.
Because of their apparent aversion to light, mosquitoes are mostly seen in the evenings and at night. They prefer semi-darkness. You can conveniently leave your nightlight on without any worries about drawing them to you at night.
What Attracts Mosquitoes?
That leaves the question: if they are not attracted to light, what draws mosquitoes to us? We will highlight what attracts mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are attracted to the following:
Humans possess different metabolisms. Some burn energy more than others. During this process of burning energy, carbon dioxide is exhaled. Mosquitoes are drawn to this gas. The more CO2 a body produces, the higher the number of mosquitoes drawn to it.
Since mosquitoes are primarily nocturnal, they are more active while you sleep.
As you sleep, your body burns energy through a process of combustion, which causes you to exhale carbon dioxide and attract mosquitoes.
The faster your metabolism, the more carbon dioxide you exhale, and the more mosquitoes want to feast on you. Also, people with larger and heavier bodies normally exhale more carbon dioxide and thus attract more mosquitoes.
Your body heat also plays a part in the attraction of mosquitoes. Because your body heats up and sweats, mosquitoes are drawn to it. Mosquitoes have been known to detect lactic acid present in your sweat by using their chemical neuro-receptors, which give them a keen sense of smell from a distance.
They prefer to feed on warm bodies. This is why they tend to bite more during warm and hot periods because human bodies are warmer than average. The warmer the body, the higher the chances of being bitten.
Inadvertently, mosquitoes get drawn to you when you wear clothes with darker colors that retain heat. Alternatively, wearing clothes with lighter colors keeps them away because they keep you cooler.
3. Body Odor
Mosquitoes can pick up odors over a long distance due to their highly developed noses. With this sense, they can smell a human from afar and hone in. They can detect several body odors and even distinguish which smells better. Certain body odors can repel mosquitoes, while others draw them in.
Mosquitoes can pick up odors over a long distance due to their highly developed noses.
The female mosquito needs blood with amino acids to lay its eggs, so it considers anybody carrying blood with a greater concentration of amino acids the most ideal for feeding. In essence, mosquitoes can tell which is the best blood to feed on, and its owner will get stung more frequently and faster than most.
Precautions to Take to Avoid Getting Bitten
Although light may not attract mosquitoes, other things can draw them in. To protect yourself from contracting malaria or any other illness spread by mosquitoes, it’s crucial to take the necessary precautions. The following precautions can help you avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:
- Use a Mosquito Net. Installing a mosquito net around your bed protects you from mosquitoes and keeps other insects at bay. Make sure the four corners of the bed are covered and there are no gaps for mosquitoes to fly through.
- Use Odors that are Unpleasant to Mosquitoes. Because mosquitoes use body odor to determine how and whom they bite, you could use mosquito repellent products that emit odors unpleasant to their senses. You can spray these products to repel mosquitoes.
- Regulate your Body Temperature. Making sure your body temperature is not as warm as mosquitoes prefer can be accomplished by taking a lukewarm shower before bed. You can be certain that you won’t get bitten because this prevents them from being attracted to you.
- Use Mosquito Coils and Citronella Candles. Using a mosquito coil can keep mosquitoes at bay and reduce your risk of getting bitten. You can also use a citronella candle, which comes in many varieties and has a scent that repels mosquitoes and other flying insects.
- Keep your Environment Tidy. To prevent being bitten, try to control the mosquito population in the area. Make sure there are no stagnant waters nearby because mosquitoes like to lay their eggs in damp, unsanitary places.
Mosquitoes do not get attracted by light. They only use natural light from the moon and stars to guide their movements, while artificial light sometimes impacts this process.
If you want to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, follow the precautions suggested or use an insecticide to eradicate them in your living areas.