With the weather warming up, there’s nothing more frustrating than mosquitoes buzzing around your home or yard.
Not only can these pesky insects invade our space, but they leave itchy and swollen marks on our skin if you're unlucky enough to get bitten. In worse cases, certain species can transmit deadly diseases, like malaria and dengue fever. That’s why it’s important to know how to get rid of mosquitoes fast. And if you’ve tried every repellent, and deterring plant going, you’ll be surprised to learn there's another way to repel mosquitoes — colors.
According to scientists from the University of Washington, there are certain colors that repel mosquitoes and others that attract them. Their study published in Nature Communications revealed that the mosquito’s sense of smell (olfaction), influences how it responds to visual cues/colors. However, this color preference only occurs in the presence of carbon dioxide (CO2), which we exhale when we breathe.
And while mosquitoes respond to our breath, sweat, and body temperature — eliminating the colors that attract them in the first place could help keep them at bay.
So, if you want to banish these pesky pests, you could try one of these colors to repel mosquitoes in your home or yard.
Colors that repel mosquitoes
Considering mosquitoes are known to be attracted to darker colors, the study revealed blue was unpopular with the pests.
Unlike the heat absorbent, navy blue tones, lighter blues actually reflect more heat and light — which mosquitoes do not like.
Similarly, purple was also ignored by the mosquitoes. This is mainly because violet has the shortest wavelength of any color on the visible light spectrum. And since they have a preference for long-wavelength, red and orange tones, they won’t come anywhere near it.
Which comes in handy if you have any purple clothing, or if such colors are included in your outdoor furniture!
Generally, mosquitoes keep away from light colors that reflect heat — making white the ideal deterrent. In fact, white was the control object used in the study. The aim was to pair every color in the test chamber with a white object to compare the results.
Research showed that even with CO2 sprayed in the test chamber, mosquitoes avoided the white object in favor of the colors they preferred.
This might seem strange, since mosquitoes tend to fly around our yards or land on plants. But it turns out research shows they will try to avoid the color green.
During the study, a researcher held their bare hands outside the test chamber, which the mosquitoes were drawn to. However, when the same researcher inserted their hand into the test chamber wearing a green glove, mosquitos ignored it, and flew right past it. This was the case even when it was sprayed with CO2 to attract them more. It seems that mosquitoes are not fans of the color green after all!
Beige is another popular color that repels mosquitoes. Similar to white, this lighter color reflects heat and light. This makes it less appealing to these pests than darker tones.
While this may not eliminate bites completely, these light colors will keep you cooler on a hot, summer’s day!
Although these results are promising, experts recommend you should still take other preventative measures. Citronella is a good deterrent as the citrus smell is offensive to mosquitoes, and often found in mosquito repellent sprays. You can also try a mosquito trap device, which tends to lure and trap mosquitoes using a combination of light and suction. Devices such as the Katchy Indoor Insect Trap ($44.99, Amazon), could work in those trouble areas.
What colors attract mosquitoes?
Typically, dark colors attract mosquitoes, such as navy/dark blue, red, orange and black. This is because darker hues trap heat, and wearing such colors will make you sweat more — providing a host for pesky mosquitoes.
What’s more, regardless of skin tone, red 'wavelengths' are detected by mosquitoes more frequently. So if you have these colors around your home and yard, you could be luring them in!
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As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features.
Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.
With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!