Four colours mosquitoes love that you should avoid wearing

Four colours mosquitoes love that you should avoid wearing


Mosquitoes are attracted to red, orange, black and cyan

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(Web Desk) - It is that time of year when the quiet skies are filled with an annoying buzzing sound.

Scientists have predicted that it is going to be a 'very bad' mosquito season, warning of a rise in insect-borne illnesses.

While there are sprays, candles and creams that keep the pests away, another method comes down to the colour of clothing you wear.

Researchers at the University of Washington found mosquitoes are attracted to red, orange, black and cyan - a colour between blue and green.

But the insects were found to ignore green, purple, blue and white, suggesting these are the best to wear when outside this summer.

Jeffrey Riffell, a University of Washington professor of biology, said in a statement: 'One of the most common questions I'm asked is, 'What can I do to stop mosquitoes from biting me?'

'I used to say there are three major cues that attract mosquitoes: your breath, your sweat and the temperature of your skin.

'In this study, we found a fourth cue: the color red, which can not only be found on your clothes, but is also found in everyone's skin.

'The shade of your skin doesn't matter, we are all giving off a strong red signature. Filtering out those attractive colors in our skin, or wearing clothes that avoid those colors, could be another way to prevent a mosquito biting.'

The study, released in 2022, was conducted by tracking behaviors of female yellow fever mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, when presented with different types of visual and scent cues.

Like all mosquito species, only females drink blood, and bites from A. aegypti can transmit dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and Zika that can result in death.

Researchers observed the insects in miniature test chambers that were filled with an odor and different visual patterns, including a colored dot or human hand.

Without any odor stimulus, mosquitoes largely ignored a dot at the bottom of the chamber, regardless of its color.

When a spritz of carbon dioxide was added, the mosquitoes flew toward dots that were red, orange, black or cyan - but avoided those that were green, blue and purple.

Humans exhale carbon dioxide, which the insects can smell, and the experiment showed that the gas made the mosquitoes' eyes prefer certain wavelengths in the visual spectrum.

It is similar to what might happen when humans smell something good.

'Imagine you're on a sidewalk and you smell pie crust and cinnamon,' said Riffell.

'That's probably a sign that there's a bakery nearby, and you might start looking around for it. Here, we started to learn what visual elements that mosquitoes are looking for after smelling their own version of a bakery.'

'Most humans have 'true color' vision. We see different wavelengths of light as distinct colors: 650 nanometers shows up as red, while 450 nanometer wavelengths look blue, for example.'

Mosquito season begins in March and continues into the fall and while ever state sees their fair share, Los Angeles, California had the largest infestation in 2023.