Summer means the return of mosquitoes--and you know what that means. Yup. It means you've got…
Are you seeing a lot of mosquitoes on your property? Are you wondering what attracts mosquitoes? Well, mosquitoes aren't as mysterious as you might think. If you're seeing clouds of mosquitoes on your property there's likely a simple reason. Understanding what this reason is can help you reduce mosquito swarms.
Table of Contents
What Attracts Mosquitoes to You?
Are you a "mosquito magnet"? Do mosquitoes tend to actively pursue you when you're outside? Sure, you may just have a great air about you that all the bugs like - but, it's probably not it. Let's look at what attracts mosquitoes - and why you're likely sending mosquitoes some mixed signals.
Scent and Chemical Signals
Mosquitoes are highly attracted to scents and chemical signals emitted by humans and animals. The primary factor that draws mosquitoes is the carbon dioxide (CO2) we exhale when breathing. Mosquitoes have specialized sensors that detect CO2 from a distance, allowing them to locate potential hosts.
Body heat and warmth radiated by people and animals make them more attractive to mosquitoes. They are also drawn to lactic acid, uric acid, and ammonia found in sweat and other bodily fluids. People with higher metabolic rates or who are physically active tend to produce more of these compounds, making them more appealing to mosquitoes.
Skin Odors and Fragrances
Human body odors, influenced by genetics and personal hygiene, can play a significant role in attracting mosquitoes. Certain skin bacteria produce scents that mosquitoes find attractive. Chemicals that naturally secrete from the skin, such as octenol and nonanal, can lure mosquitoes closer.
Fragrances from lotions, perfumes, and scented soaps can also attract mosquitoes, as they may confuse these scents with the odors emitted by their natural hosts. Floral and fruity scents can be particularly appealing to mosquitoes, so it's advisable to opt for unscented products, especially when spending time outdoors.
Clothing and Colors
Mosquitoes have a bit of a fashion sense. Mosquitoes are also influenced by visual cues. Dark-colored clothing, especially black and navy blue, can attract mosquitoes, as they are more visible against such backgrounds.
Mosquitoes have been shown to be attracted to contrasting patterns, so wearing clothes with high color contrasts might make you a more noticeable target. Lighter, neutral-colored clothing is generally less attractive to mosquitoes. However, it's important to note that while clothing can influence mosquito attraction, their preference for hosts is primarily driven by scents and chemical signals.
What Attracts Mosquitoes to Your Property?
Is your backyard a hub for mosquitoes to breed? Then it's time to inspect your property. You may be able to quickly reduce mosquitoes in your backyard by cleaning up the areas that are attracting mosquitoes to your home. Let's look at what attracts mosquitoes and connect them to how you can control mosquitoes on your property.
What Attracts Mosquitoes: Shade
If mosquitoes dry out, they die. So, in the middle of the day, you're going to find these insects hiding in shaded, more humid locations. Resting spots for mosquitoes may be tree canopies, bushes, shrubs, ornamentals, flowers, and underneath man-made structures. They will take advantage of any shaded location but are particularly drawn to areas that are moist. Therefore, the plants in your landscaping are likely to get targeted first if you water them regularly.
What Attracts Mosquitoes: Humidity
Mosquitoes thrive in locations where humidity is high. When there is rainwater, sprinkler water, hose water, or any other kind of water that can dampen the ground in your yard, mosquitoes will be attracted to your property because of the humidity in the air. If you have lots of trees or brush on your property, it's likely you're a nesting ground for an impending mosquito swarm.
What Attracts Mosquitoes: Water
This is the most important of all. If you have stagnant water in your yard, a slow-moving creek, a pond, or any body of water, you're going to be dealing with mosquitoes. But you don't need a full lake in your backyard to have mosquito problems.
Mosquitoes only need an inch of water to breed in. They'll use still water that is being contained by a clog in your gutter system. They'll use a puddle that forms next to your home after it rains. They'll use rainwater that has collected on an object in your yard. It takes a few days for mosquitoes to fully develop from egg to adult (flying) mosquitoes.
Mosquito Control & Prevention
We've covered what attracts mosquitoes, but what can you do to actually prevent them?
1. Eliminate Breeding Sites
Mosquitoes only need 1 inch of standing water to lay their eggs and complete their life cycle. One of the most effective ways to control mosquito populations is to eliminate their breeding grounds. Regularly inspect your surroundings for any potential water collection points—flower pots, bird baths, gutters, and even pet bowls. Empty, cover, or treat these areas to prevent mosquitoes from multiplying. Keep your yard clean and well-maintained, as even small amounts of stagnant water can attract these insects.
Dump Standing Water
When you actively reduce stagnant water in your yard, you reduce mosquitoes. Inspect your yard and remove any conditions that allow water to sit for days. If you have a birdbath, change the water weekly to prevent eggs from developing into fully formed adult mosquitoes. If you have a tire swing, poke a hole in the bottom to keep mosquitoes from breeding in the tire. If you have a kiddie pool, turn it over when the kids aren't using it.
When you work to remove mosquito breeding sites, you have a big impact on the number of mosquitoes in your yard. The most noticeable effort, of course, is partnering with a pest control company that specializes in mosquito control. Your exterminator will help you identify mosquito breeding sites and treat still-water resources with a larvicide that will prevent mosquito development.
North Carolina homeowners know that the area can get pretty humid at times. But there are ways to reduce humidity on your property. Keep up with trimming trees, hedges, and grass, and be sure to remove yard waste or tree trimmings from your property. These types of organic materials hold a significant amount of moisture and also make great hiding spots for eggs.
If you use a sprinkler to water your yard, make sure you only give your lawn what it needs, and position the sprinklers so they don't dampen the ground in wooded areas. Check your exterior spigots and hoses to make sure there are no leaks. And address anything in your yard that is allowing shaded locations to become moist.
2. Maintain Landscaping
Since shady, damp areas attract mosquitoes, you can also reduce mosquitoes in your yard by keeping up with your landscaping. Trim tree branches to let sunlight into shaded locations. Space ornamental plants to help them dry quickly. Remove items that create shaded locations for mosquitoes to hide (for example, stowing the riding lawnmower away when you're not using it).
Proper landscaping can significantly impact mosquito populations. Trim tall grass, bushes, and shrubs to reduce hiding spots for mosquitoes during the day. Additionally, consider planting mosquito-repelling plants like citronella, lavender, and marigolds around your outdoor living areas. These plants emit natural scents that mosquitoes find repulsive. Adding a few of these plants to your garden not only enhances its aesthetics but also serves as a natural mosquito deterrent.
3. Use Mosquito Repellents
Personal protection is crucial when spending time outdoors, especially during peak mosquito activity times such as dawn and dusk. Apply EPA-approved mosquito repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin and clothing. Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks can also provide an extra barrier against mosquito bites. If you're hosting outdoor gatherings, consider using fans, as mosquitoes are weak fliers and are less likely to land in areas with strong air currents.
4. Employ Mosquito Traps and Screens
Mosquito traps can be effective in reducing local mosquito populations. Various types of traps use attractants to lure mosquitoes in, where they are either captured or killed. On a smaller scale, mosquito nets and screens on doors and windows can keep mosquitoes out of your living spaces. Repair any holes or tears in existing screens to ensure they remain effective barriers.
5. Professional Pest Control
For the best mosquito repellant and prevention, partner with a pest control company that specializes in mosquito control. Your mosquito control expert can help you identify potential problem areas where mosquitoes may be breeding. Pest control technicians have access to advanced techniques and treatments that target mosquito populations effectively while adhering to safety standards.
If you're a resident of Lenoir, West Jefferson, Blowing Rock, Mooresville, Hickory, or surrounding areas in North Carolina, call our exterminators for professional mosquito control and mosquito prevention. Our exterminators can inspect your property so you don't have to wonder, "What attracts mosquitoes?"
Final Word: What Attracts Mosquitoes?
After learning what attracts mosquitoes, you'll need to take action to prevent them from making your home, their own.
Mosquito control is a process that takes effort but, when you have ongoing seasonal mosquito service, it takes a whole lot less effort. Treating mosquito resting sites not only eliminates adult mosquitoes on your property, it prevents those mosquitoes from breeding in your neighborhood, so you don't have to worry if your neighbors have a lot of breeding sites in their yards.
Now that you're more aware of what attracts mosquitoes, you can also be proactive with mosquito prevention. Remember, mosquito control isn't just about comfort—it's also about safeguarding your health and that of your loved ones from the potential risks associated with mosquito-borne diseases.
If you live in North Carolina, and you've never tried a mosquito control service, give it a shot and find out what a difference it can make. Call our exterminators at 828-481-9140.
Do mosquitoes like humidity?
Yes. Mosquitoes actively seek humid, dark, damp areas.
How do mosquitoes always find me?
Mosquitoes use different ways of locating their food source. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that humans and other animals emit. They also use receptors and vision to pick up on other cues like body heat and odor to find a host.
Why do mosquitoes bite?
It’s only the female mosquitoes who bite. Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectar. The females seek out blood in order to develop their eggs.
Do colors attract mosquitoes?
Yes! Mosquitoes are more attracted to dark-colored clothing.
What attracts mosquitoes?
Dark, damp areas paired with a readily available food source.