Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Light?

Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Light?

When it comes to protecting yourself from irritating and persistent pests like mosquitoes, understanding what they’re attracted to can play a vital role in getting rid of them. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be asking yourself the same question others before you have: “Are mosquitoes attracted to light?”

It’s understandable to assume mosquitoes are attracted to light since there are several mosquito-repelling products on the market that use light as a type of bait. However, you may be surprised to learn the truth about what mosquitoes are (and aren’t) attracted to. 

Here’s a breakdown of the relationship between mosquitoes and different sources of light. 


Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. While scientists debate the levels of a mosquito’s attraction to light, they do agree that mosquitoes have learned to adjust to their surroundings and the activity level of their hosts. As a result, understanding when a mosquito is most active can be difficult to determine as its behavior is largely dependent on the activity level of its host. 

Since mosquitoes are an adaptive species and are attracted to carbon dioxide, sweat, body heat, and body odor, it’s possible that different species of mosquitoes can alter the time of day they are most active to correlate when the activity levels of potential human or animal hosts that are nearby. As a result, mosquitoes can exhibit nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular behavior.


When a mosquito is considered nocturnal, it means they come out at night. Anopheles mosquitoes are typically nocturnal and are most likely to bite at night. 


Diurnal animals are most active during the daytime. Their daily patterns and routines are based on their circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms refer to the natural cycle of physical, mental, and behavioral changes that take place within a 24-hour cycle. Originating from southeast Asia, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is unique because it feeds during the daytime, unlike most other mosquitoes that feed at dusk and dawn.


The term crepuscular originates from the Latin word meaning “twilight,” signifying that the animal is most active during twilight hours (dawn and dusk). This is the case for the majority of mosquito species, including the common house mosquito (Culex pipiens). 

If you are experiencing a mosquito infestation, it’s important to contact a professional pest control expert right away. With over 200 mosquito species present in the United States, the chances are high that you may encounter mosquitoes at any point, regardless of the time of day. 


While some mosquitoes may be more active during the day compared to others, there is still the question of whether or not light can actually repel mosquitoes. Similar to moths, most mosquitoes are considered to be phototactic, meaning they instinctively move toward or away from light depending on the variation in direction and light intensity. Here are some examples of positively or negatively phototactic animals: 


Positive phototaxis signifies a natural response of an organism to move toward the direction of a light source. Some examples of positive phototaxis include:

  • Phototrophic organisms such as phytoflagellates, Euglena spp., and photosynthetic bacteria.
  • Chlorophyll-containing green plants. These plants naturally move toward the direction of sunlight to engage in photosynthesis. If you’ve ever watched a plant grow toward a sunny window, you’ve observed positive phototaxis.
  • Certain flying insects. Common insects like moths, grasshoppers, flies, some mosquitoes, and even the adult fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) have proven positive responses toward sources of light. 


Negative phototaxis is the exact opposite of positive phototaxis. When an animal is negatively phototactic, the organism moves away from increasing light intensity. Some examples of negatively phototactic animals include:

  • Earthworms. Receptor coils are embedded in the earthworm’s skin, making them sensitive to light and touch. To avoid drying out their skin, which can eventually kill them, earthworms move away from light sources for survival. 
  • Cockroaches. Unlike earthworms, cockroaches do not avoid light because it is harmful to them. Some theories on why cockroaches avoid light are because they either want to avoid being seen by a potential predator or they use the moon as a navigation tool, so artificial light can be confusing or disorienting. 
  • Juvenile fruit flies. Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) that are within the first three instar stages of development have been observed to display negative phototaxis. 


If you’ve ever been in the market for insect-repellent solutions, chances are you’ve seen various light-emitting diode (LED) products. LED products generate light more efficiently, upwards of 90% better when compared to traditional incandescent light bulbs. 

Mosquitoes are mainly attracted to lights that give off heat. These often include UV and bright white fluorescent lights. LED lights do not give off a significant amount of the ultraviolet rays responsible for heat production, so if you’re looking for an outdoor lighting solution that is less likely to attract mosquitoes, LED lights are a great option to try.


The Kelvin is a unit of thermodynamic temperature used to measure the color temperature of a specific light source. Since most insects have a difficult time seeing light that has a lower color temperature, light bulbs that emit cooler temperatures, such as yellow, candlelight, warm white, and even soft white lights, have a lower Kelvin and are therefore less attractive to insects like mosquitoes.  

If you are experiencing a high volume of mosquitoes near your home, consider replacing any blue-toned light bulbs with yellow LED lights instead. 


If you’re facing bothersome mosquitoes, our pest control professionals can offer relief. Our friendly field experts are specially trained in mosquito behavior, habitats, and effective measures to send them packing. Call us at Joshua’s Pest Control today to set up pet- and family-friendly treatments today!



Courtney Enzor has worked in the pest control industry for about a decade. From helping you build a fly trap to giving you the best tips for identifying various bugs, she loves answering all your pest-related questions and sharing her pest-related expertise through writing. At the end of the day, she hopes her content will help people avoid mishaps and keep families happy and healthy!