What Attracts Mosquitoes?

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The bite from a mosquito can be dangerous, even here in the United States, where mosquito reduction services are widespread, and municipalities, businesses, and homeowners are constantly managing mosquito populations. And, with the threat of the Zika virus on the mind of New Yorkers, more and more people are asking us, "What attracts mosquitoes?" When people ask this question, they want to know one of two things.

mosquito on human body

How am I attracting mosquitoes to bite me?

  • Mosquitoes are attracted to Carbon Dioxide(CO2). It only makes sense. These insects live on blood. And where do you find blood? In warm-blooded creatures that exhale carbon dioxide. While you can't stop breathing, it is important to understand that you'll be more attractive by pumping out more CO2. That means exercising or exerting yourself outside will draw these pests to you. It is also a bad idea to take a nap outside if you want to avoid bites. When we sleep, we produce a lot more CO2.

  • If your body temperature is higher than the person next to you, mosquitoes may single you out. These creatures can detect temperature. So, don't be surprised if you're getting more bites if you finish a jog and start talking to some people who have only been walking.

  • Mosquitoes have terrible eyesight, so they often fly low and use dark silhouettes against the bright sky to lock in on their targets. Wearing bright clothing can make it harder for mosquitoes to find you.

  • The poor eyesight of mosquitoes also forces these pests to look for changing light patterns to lock on to their victims. These patterns happen when we move around. While it can help swing your arms and legs to avoid bites, you're also telling all the mosquitoes where you are.

  • Mosquitoes love moisture. If you have sweat or water droplets on your skin, they will like you more.

  • A study in Japan showed that mosquitoes are more apt to bite someone who has had one beer. So it might pay to be the designated driver at the next backyard party.

  • Some people are just born to attract mosquitoes. When we exhale, we don't just release CO2; we also release chemicals that mosquitoes can smell. If you're the one who is always being bitten by mosquitoes, this may be why. The best you can do is apply a repellent containing either DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to yourself and your clothing.

What attracts mosquitoes to my home?

  • Mosquitoes breed in standing water. If you have areas on your lawn where water collects, mosquitoes are sure to notice.

  • Obstructed gutters are a perfect breeding spot. Mosquitoes don't need much room to breed.

  • Bird baths that do not have a fountain or algae growing on them will lure mosquitoes into your yard.

  • Bug zappers are great for attracting mosquitoes, but a study done in Australia showed conclusive evidence that these traps do a horrible job of killing female mosquitoes, which are the ones that bite.

  • Some plants will draw mosquitoes into your yard. If you have water lilies, water hyacinths, water lettuce, taro, or papyrus, mosquitoes will love you even more for it.

  • If you have standing water next to your foundation, this could provide the perfect mixture of water and shade.

  • Extensive areas of shade will be attractive to this insect that does not like the drying effects of the sun.

  • Do you have lots of people or animals in your yard? The more warm-blooded, CO2-breathing creatures you have in your yard, the more mosquitoes you're going to have.

  • Do you have flowers? Some mosquitoes will eat nectar as well as blood. If you have lots of flowers, they could be helping to increase your mosquito population.

  • When kids leave their toys around the yard, these objects can sometimes hold enough rainwater for mosquitoes to breed in. It is a good idea to pick up lawn clutter routinely.

  • Tall grass and weeds can create an ecosystem that is friendly to mosquitoes.

There are many ways that you can make yourself and your yard less attractive to mosquitoes. For the best in mosquito protection, you can also have routine mosquito services to kill mosquitoes and address breeding sites in your yard. If you live in New York state, find out if you're in our service area. Parkway Pest Services offers a wide range of services for all yard pests, including mosquitoes, contact us today.


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