What Colors Attract Mosquitoes the Most and Which Repel Them?
After the rather generous rainy season and in the middle of a heat wave, most humans are suffering, but there is one pest that is thriving… Yes, the mosquitoes seem to be even more numerous and their attacks – more violent. Of course, some people are more affected than others, but why? What attracts them and what repels them? Blood type? Our breath? Perspiration? Light? Yes, but not literally. It seems that some colors attract mosquitoes and there are colors that repel them!
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What Colors Attract Mosquitoes the Most/Least?
Of course, mosquitoes are super annoying, including their itchy and painful bites, sometimes refusing to go away over the course of days or even weeks. So is there anything you can do to get rid of the terrible bloodsuckers? For example, a color to wear that really repels them?
Are There Any Colors That Attract Mosquitoes?
Beliefs about what attracts mosquitoes to humans vary widely and one of the most popular is that the color of our clothes can make us more or less attractive to the greedy insects. It turns out that this is more than an “urban legend”, as dark colored clothing, such as black, navy blue and dark reds makes it easier for biters to find us, provided they are combined with movement and breathing.
Do Mosquitoes See Color?
Can mosquitoes actually see color? They are able to detect colors, but only if carbon dioxide (CO2) is found nearby. In addition, certain complementary factors such as odor, body heat and breath vapor can trigger the mosquito response to color.
What Research Says…
According to a 2022 study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington and published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, mosquitoes that transmit yellow fever can be attracted to certain colors, especially red, orange and cyan. The research results revealed that color alone, in the absence of an olfactory stimulus like carbon dioxide, had no significant impact on insect behavior. In short, the mosquito only showed a preference for red after it detected CO2 – the carbon dioxide we all release when we breathe. In addition, it is possible that other mosquito species have different color preferences.
What Attracts Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes use several methods to find their hosts, including humans. They have excellent eyesight and can also track specific smells and changes in temperature. So here are some factors that can make you irresistible to mosquitoes:
Mosquitoes use their palps (sensory organs between their antennae) to detect the carbon dioxide we exhale. A high concentration of CO2 can indicate the presence of a host and sensitive mosquitoes can detect it from 150 feet/45 meters away!
Mosquitoes are also able to detect several chemical compounds present in human sweat, including lactic acid, uric acid and ammonia. Working out or spending time outdoors during a heat wave raises our body temperature, causing us to sweat to cool ourselves down. Afterwards, all the moist areas of our body become targets for biters.
The Blood Group
Historically, opinions have differed regarding the role of blood type in mosquito preferences. More studies are needed, but curiously, researchers in Japan found that people of blood group O are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than those of blood group A.
Why Do These Colors Attract Mosquitoes?
There are many reasons why mosquitoes prefer dark colors. For example, dark colors absorb and retain heat better, making mosquitoes’ job easier when they use their sophisticated antennae to locate their victim. As for their preference for red and orange hues, it’s assumed that all human skin tones register as a strong red-orange hue in their eyes, which motivates them to seek it out.
What Colors Do Mosquitoes Ignore?
The University of Washington research team discovered that mosquitoes generally ignore white, green and light blue. Being at risk of dehydration, most mosquitoes do not come out in direct sunlight and only become active at dusk and dawn. We can therefore speculate that light colors are perceived as dangerous for mosquitoes and they instinctively avoid them.