UNLIKE moths, flies, and other insects, mosquitoes aren’t known for their attraction to bright lights.
But your porch light or patio lanterns could be to blame for your mosquito bites this summer – here’s what to watch out for.
You might already know that some outdoor lights, especially LEDs, attract fluttering, buzzing pests on warm summer nights.
But mosquitoes are on the search for something else, said Charles van Rees, PhD, a conservation scientist and naturalist, explained to Homes and Gardens.
“Mosquitoes don’t hate any kind of light,” van Rees explained. You won’t keep them away from your outdoor space just by switching from a halogen light to an LED bulb or vice versa.
When mosquitoes are on the hunt, they’re using a color-coded system to find prey. The right color is often an indicator of CO2 output.
If you put up a string of golden-toned fairy lights, or left up red novelty lights from Christmas, you may see an increase in mosquitoes around your home and patio.
“A dark red or orange light might be more attractive to them if they are actively hunting,” van Rees said.
Most mosquitoes get their food supply from large mammals, which tend to have fur or hair, so the bugs love warmer tan, brown, red, and orange shades.
Deeply-saturated colors also absorb warmth, which the insects love, so you might see mosquitoes hanging around your burgundy-red outdoor sectional after it’s been heated by the sun all day.
If a mosquito explores your front porch where warm light is glowing, and stumbles upon a tasty, CO2-producing family, it will swoop in for a feast.
That means one way to keep mosquitoes off your property might be finding a different light source.
“Some colors don’t seem attractive to them when they are looking for an animal to bite,” van Rees explained. “These are dark purples, blues, greens, grays, and other light shades.”
When shopping for an outdoor light source, whether it’s a standing lamp or a new bulb for your floodlight, try to stick to cool-toned bulbs.
You’ll get bonus points if you add citronella candles to your stable of light sources.
They can keep the bugs at bay while also providing light for outdoor, nighttime gatherings. Look for stake torches that can go around your patio, or buy a great big candle to place in the center of your patio dining table.
Don’t forget that mosquitoes can still sneak up on you while you’re out in the yard. To avoid any bites, experts recommend wearing insect repellent and covering exposed skin if you’re planning to spend time outside.