Few pests are as much of a nuisance as mosquitoes. When the weather is warm, these winged pests seem nearly impossible to escape. Worst yet, mosquito bites can be itchy and bothersome. Unfortunately, it seems some people are easier targets for these blood-sucking insects than others.

Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Color?

Contributed by: Tim Best

Updated on: October 7, 2022

There are several common beliefs about what attracts mosquitoes to humans. One of these is color. Can the color of your clothing actually make you more appealing to mosquitoes in search of their next meal?

Are mosquitoes drawn to certain colors?

Yes, color may attract mosquitoes. Dark-colored clothing, such as black, navy, blue or red – when combined with movement and breath – make it easier for these insects to find you.

But can mosquitoes actually see color? They may be able to detect colors, but only if carbon dioxide (CO2) is in the vicinity. Additionally, certain odors and bodily cues like heat and water vapor can trigger mosquitoes' response to color.

According to a 2022 study conducted by researchers from the University of Washington and published in Nature Communications, yellow fever mosquitoes may be attracted to some colors — specifically red, orange and cyan. The research findings revealed that color alone, in the absence of an odor stimulus like carbon dioxide, had no significant impact on the mosquito's behavior. This research suggests that the mosquito displayed a preference for red only after they detected carbon dioxide (C02), which all humans release when we breathe. However, without carbon dioxide near the color source, mosquitoes do not show similar responses to specific colors.

How Mosquitoes Find Humans

Mosquitoes use a number of methods to find their hosts, which include humans. These insects have excellent sight and they can also hone in on specific scents and changes in temperature.

Here are just a few of the factors that may make humans attractive to mosquitoes:


Mosquitoes use their palps (odor-sensing organs situated between their antennae) to detect carbon dioxide, which is produced when humans exhale. A high concentration of carbon dioxide can indicate the presence of a host. 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.

Blood Type

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.

Learn more about blood types and mosquitoes here.

The mosquito species may determine color preferences

Although the recent University of Washington study focused on yellow fever mosquitos (Aedes aegypti) since they are one of the most widespread mosquito species, there were two additional species that were included in subsequent tests. The research team observed that yellow fever mosquitoes prefer orange, red and cyan. However, the southern house mosquito and Anopehles stephensi, were drawn to red-orange colors. With this in mind, it's possible that other species may have different color preferences.

What colors are mosquitoes attracted to?

Mosquitoes prefer dark colors for a few reasons. Dark colors may replicate shadows, which are more likely to absorb and retain heat, allowing mosquitoes to use their sophisticated antenna to locate a host.

Aside from heat absorption, dark colors also stand out, whereas light colors blend in. Dark colors may block a mosquito's view of the horizon and allow it to visualize a silhouette, which they recognize as a potential host (and meal). This, in turn, enables the mosquito to better track objects in the distance.

The recent findings from the University of Washington study revealed that color alone, in the absence of an odor stimulus like carbon dioxide, had no significant impact on the mosquito's behavior. Research suggests that the mosquito displayed a preference for red-orange hues only after they detected carbon dioxide, which all humans release when we breathe.

Another reason why mosquitoes may be drawn to red and orange is that all human skin tones register as a strong red-orange hue to their eyes. Colors on the red-orange spectrum are particularly attractive to mosquitoes when combined with biological odors and the presence of carbon dioxide within a 100 foot range.

What colors do mosquitoes ignore?

The research team from the University of Washington found that mosquitoes typically ignore white, green and blue.

Entomologists have long understood the implications of color as a means of mosquito attraction. Light colors are perceived as a threat to mosquitoes. This is why many species avoid biting in direct sunlight and are generally more active at dusk and dawn, as they are very susceptible to dying by dehydration. Therefore, light colors may instinctively represent danger.

Should I wear specific colors to avoid mosquito bites?

To reduce the possibility of a mosquito biting you, you could consider wearing white, green or blue. Lighter colors are less interesting to mosquitos than darker shades like navy and black, red or orange.

However, clothing color alone is unlikely to keep mosquitos away for good. If they sense the presence of carbon dioxide, body heat and sweat, they are likely to detect you. However, If you are standing right next to a person who is wearing red or orange, they might bite them instead.

Is there an association between the color red and blood?

It can be largely assumed that there is no association between the two. While mosquitoes can see using their compound eyes, their perception is poor. They do not see clear images and science does not yet fully know whether or not mosquitoes perceive colors the same way as other animals, say, humans, would.

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 long-sleeved shirts and pants to limit exposed skin susceptible to bites.
  • 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.
  • Consult with a mosquito control professional.

Avoiding certain colors in your outdoor living space may help reduce mosquitoes

Since some mosquitoes are more drawn to certain colors, it may help to adjust the colors of your outdoor furniture and decorations to keep them at bay. Consider avoiding red, orange and black. Instead, opt for lighter hues of green, blue and white to avoid drawing mosquitoes.

You may also want to avoid planting colorful red or orange flowers near your porch, patio or any other area on your property where you plan to enjoy some time outdoors, as they may attract mosquitoes.

Terminix can help you with mosquitoes

Despite your best efforts to repel mosquitoes, you may still find them buzzing around your yard. If they are, our professionals can help stop them.

The mosquito control professionals at Terminix® understand what attracts these blood-sucking pests to your yard and the conditions that allow them to thrive. Your Terminix mosquito control specialist can recommend solutions to help reduce the population around your home. Contact Terminix today to learn more and get mosquito control.