We all know the feeling. You’re outside, enjoying a warm summer night, when suddenly you feel a sharp sting on your skin. You swat at the air frantically, trying to find the source of the pain, and sure enough, there’s a little mosquito hovering nearby. But why? Why are these pesky insects attracted to light? Let’s take a closer look at the science behind it.
When mosquitoes are looking for a target, they’re actually drawn to two things: movement and heat. While mosquitoes can see light, they’re not actually attracted to it. So what gives?
It turns out that when mosquitoes are seeking out a target, they’re drawn towards areas of high contrast. In other words, they’re looking for areas where there is a significant difference between the light and dark values. And since mosquitoes are attracted to both movement and heat, it makes sense that they would be drawn to light as well—after all, moving objects are usually warmer than stationary ones.
Of course, this isn’t the only reason why mosquitoes are so attracted to us humans. They’re also drawn to the Carbon Dioxide that we emit when we breathe, as well as the lactic acid in our sweat. But of all of these factors, contrast is by far the most important one.
So there you have it! The next time you find yourself being swarmed by mosquitoes, you can at least take solace in knowing that it’s not personal—they’re just doing what comes natural to them. And if you really want to avoid being bitten, your best bet is to wear clothing that covers most of your skin and try to stay in areas with low contrast (like shaded areas). With a little bit of knowledge and preparation, you can make those outdoor summer nights just a little bit more enjoyable!