Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Color?
There aren't many pests that are quite the nuisance that mosquitoes are. When the weather is warm, they may seem nearly impossible to escape. Mosquito bites can be itchy and bothersome, and unfortunately, it seems some people are easier targets for these blood-sucking insects than others.
There are several common beliefs about what attracts mosquitoes to humans. One of these is color. Can the color of your clothing actually help mosquitoes find you?
Yes, color can attract mosquitoes. According to entomologists at the University of Florida in Vero Beach, mosquitoes will rely on their vision to find hosts, especially later in the day. Dark-colored clothing, such as black, navy, blue or red, and movement can make it easier for the insects to find you.
How Mosquitoes Find Humans
Mosquitoes use a number of methods to find their hosts, which includes humans. These insects have excellent sight, and they can also home in on specific scents and changes in temperature.
According to researchers at the California Institute of Technology, mosquitoes can see their hosts from about 16-32 feet away. Mosquitoes actually have two types of eyes: two compound eyes on the sides of their heads and photosensitive eyes, called ocelli, on the tops of their heads. The large compound eyes are covered in individual lenses called ommatidia, detecting motion and allowing the insect to see in multiple directions. The ocelli help the insect detect changes in light.
Mosquitoes also have antennae and a maxillary palp on their heads. These features help them pick up scents. These sensitive insects can detect the scent of a host from as far away as 150 feet.
Here are just a few of the factors that may make humans attractive to mosquitoes:
Mosquitoes use their palps to detect carbon dioxide, produced when humans exhale. A high concentration of carbon dioxide can indicate the presence of a host. As previously mentioned, mosquitoes are highly attuned to this chemical and are able to track a host from about 150 feet away.
Mosquitoes can also detect several compounds in human sweat, including lactic acid, uric acid and ammonia. Being outside in the heat of the summer increases your body temperature and results in the production of sweat. Mosquito bites will frequently be clustered around feet, ankles, wrists and hands, which are areas that are exposed to the elements and are more likely to collect moisture.
Strange as it may sound, researchers in Japan have found that individuals with Type O blood may be more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than those with Type A blood.
How to Help Keep Mosquitoes Away
While some of the factors that attract mosquitoes may be beyond your control, there are things you can do to help keep them away and reduce your chances of being bitten. Keep these tips in mind:
- Wear a repellent that's recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and ensure that minimal skin is exposed
- Remove areas of standing water, such as dog bowls, bird baths and garbage cans, as mosquitoes can use these areas to breed
- Keep your lawn and gutters clean
Despite your best efforts to repel mosquitoes, you may still find them buzzing around your yard this season. If this happens, you may need professionals to help stop them. The mosquito control professionals at Terminix® understand what attracts mosquitoes to your yard and the conducive conditions that they thrive in, and can recommend solutions to help reduce the population around your home. Contact Terminix today to learn more.