Mosquitoes can be a nuisance, especially when they keep flying around light sources, distracting you. LED lights are known to reduce mosquito populations, but that doesn’t mean mosquitoes won’t buzz around the lights. So does it mean mosquitoes are attracted to LED lights?
Mosquitoes aren’t strongly attracted to LED lights or any light at all. They’re attracted to the carbon dioxide you breathe out. When mosquitoes sense carbon dioxide, they know there’s a potential prey around, hence why they come closer to the light sources because you’re there.
The rest of this article explains why mosquitoes always come around light though they aren’t attracted to the light itself, what makes LED light different from regular light to mosquitoes, and how light can affect how many come around. Keep reading.
Mosquitoes, like other insects, fly around in search of food or prey for blood meals.
Female mosquitoes need blood meals from human beings to produce eggs, so they’re attracted to the warmth of our bodies and the carbon dioxide we breathe out — male mosquitoes are also attracted to these. But male mosquitoes don’t need blood meals; therefore, they’re not looking to bite. They usually need food and warmth only.
Mosquitoes come around light because that is where people are. In other words, mosquitoes are attracted to people — or more specifically, their bodies and breath — not to the light around them.
Do you know that the light around us confuses their sense of direction and interrupts their navigation as they try to find us?
Mosquitoes navigate using natural light, and because they’re nocturnal animals (active at night), their light sources are usually the moon and stars. They don’t see as we do, so their eyes are set at specific angles to help them navigate effectively with only the moon and starlight as they try to find food and prey. So, you see, they don’t need your bulbs.
When mosquitoes come across these bright light sources, they interfere with their regular natural-light navigation, and the mosquitoes get confused trying to find you. Many light bulbs emit some amount of UV light that’s somewhat similar to sunlight, and according to a study from Harvard University, mosquitoes can use UV rays to navigate.
That’s why mosquitoes are found around bulbs and light sources, even though they aren’t directly attracted to them.
An LED bulb produces light through a light-emitting diode. It essentially means that LED bulbs use a different, more efficient mechanism from normal light. LED bulbs last longer and are more flexible and energy-efficient, physically smaller, and safer. These bulbs can produce white or colored light with low UV rays, and they’re free of the harsher chemicals in regular bulbs.
LED lights significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes attracted by external lighting. The most important reason for this is that the UV content from LED light is low.
Research from the Smithsonian Tropical Institute also suggests that lighting with fewer UV components can reduce attractiveness to insects like mosquitoes. That means though light doesn’t attract mosquitoes, LED lights help reduce the population of mosquitoes compared to regular light because they don’t give UV rays to aid their navigation.
LED lights also emit less heat than other types of light. The heat from lighting doesn’t contribute much to the attraction of mosquitoes to light; it’s just that the LED sources make that little contribution even less.
Certain Colors of LEDs Can Attract More Mosquitoes
LED lights come in different brands, shapes, and colors, so they have various levels of attractions to mosquitoes, primarily based on their colors. We’re all curious about how mosquito attraction differs based on LED colors, and several scientists have carried out research about it.
According to a study, green LEDs have the highest attraction for mosquitoes, followed by red and IR lights. Blue light and other warm-colored lights attract mosquitoes the least.
Keeping Mosquitoes Away
Using LED lights can reduce the number of mosquitoes swarming your yard, but they won’t keep them away entirely. Here are some hacks for keeping mosquitoes out of your house:
- Keep a bug-proof mesh on all windows and doors. Make the openings wide enough for ventilation but too small for mosquitoes to fly in. Routinely check for tears and openings in the screen.
- Remove standing water. Mosquitoes reproduce in stagnant water, and they don’t need a lot to do it. One bottlecap of water open for four days is enough for them to lay eggs and hatch them.
- Perform a routine cleaning for your gutters, open water reservoirs, or water toys. By doing so, you can prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. Mosquitoes cannot breed without water. Even a bit of water is enough to encourage mosquitoes to breed.
- Use natural ingredients as short-term mosquito repellents. Lavender, Lemon eucalyptus oil, Cinnamon oil, Thyme oil, Soybean, Tea tree, and Neem oil are safe and efficient for creating DIY mosquito repellents.
- Keep vegetation low. Mosquitoes thrive in the cool shade of grasses, so you should keep your lawns and hedges trimmed. If you have any ditches that could collect water during rain, especially around grasses, they should be filled up with soil or any fillers.
- Make use of fans. Mosquitoes are weak fliers, so higher airspeed from a fan will help keep them away.
- Use insecticides with caution if you have a mosquito infestation. Insecticides can be dangerous when inhaled, so be careful.
LED lights, especially with blue colors, are an excellent choice for lighting if you’re looking for safe, efficient light with reduced attraction to mosquitoes. However, light isn’t nearly as strong as scent or heat in attracting mosquitoes, so using the safer LED lights won’t do enough to keep mosquitoes away.
Be sure to combine other measures like repellents, insecticides, and other healthy practices to keep away mosquitoes and the diseases they carry!
Related: Do LED Lights Attract Spiders?