Are mosquitoes attracted by UV light?

Fervent Freyja

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Are mosquitoes attracted to UV light? This PF thread isn't very clear on whether it does or not- some of it suggests that it does... So, I looked it up and found this article on Wikipedia:
Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and water vapor in the breath of mammals, not ultraviolet light.[6] However, there are now bug zappers that emit carbon dioxide or use an external bait, such as octenol, to better attract biting insects into the light.
The American Mosquito Control association also states:
Bug zappers do indeed kill some mosquitoes. However, the only two controlled studies conducted to date by independent investigators at the University of Notre Dame showed that mosquitoes comprised merely 4.1% and 6.4% respectively of the daily catch over an entire season. Even more important was the finding in both studies that there was no significant difference in the number of mosquitoes found in yards with or without bug zappers. What is particularly disconcerting, however, is the number of non-pest insects that comprise the vast majority of trap catch.
Is the information that PF supplies to visitors within said thread correct or incorrect? Or is Wikipedia and the AMCA incorrect? I feel bugged about the contradiction right now. :smile:
 

wukunlin

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I remember when I was a primary school kid in Taiwan, bug zappers were everywhere. Typically placed indoors or on balconies where the only flying insects are mosquitos. They are attracted to where people are, but tend to fly around before going for some blood. So there is a chance of running into those zappers. I don't see them anymore, probably gone out of favour due to ineffectiveness of UV attraction. However I only visit Taiwan during winter these days so my experience might be biased with seasonal effects.
 

PhanthomJay

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This summer I bought and insect killer, not a zapper, that uses UV light, a vacuum fan, and carbon dioxide emissions. It worked very well in attracting and killing all types of insects, including mosquitos. According to the manufacturer of this unit (Dynatrap), an emitted chemical reacts with the UV light to produce mosquito loving carbon dioxide which attractes them. The vacuum fan finishes the deed. It did however seem to attract other type insects in greater numbers. Perhaps because it was a relatively dry low humidity summer, that the mosquitos were not abundant anyway. Will have to try it again next summer for a better analysis of its effectiveness.
 
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Here's an interesting article on zapper not to be confused with @ZapperZ operation:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/bug-zapper.htm

Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide emitted by humans in our breath and sweat, so several types of mosquito zappers try to take advantage of this. One such product emits a steady stream of carbon dioxide, Octenol attractant and moisture. Mosquitoes are attracted to this mixture, get sucked into a net, dehydrate and die. The device is powered by a propane tank, so no electricity is required. One manufacturer claims that entire mosquito populations collapse in six to eight weeks as egg-laying females are destroyed.
 

Fervent Freyja

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I think manufacturers bank on people believing that mosquitoes really are attracted by UV light!
 

PhanthomJay

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I had an end of summer family barbecue yesterday, and the insects were more attracted to the hamburgers on the table than the uv light, especially the flies, who don't seem to give a hoot about UV or CO2 when given an alternative.......,
 

256bits

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I had an end of summer family barbecue yesterday, and the insects were more attracted to the hamburgers on the table than the uv light, especially the flies, who don't seem to give a hoot about UV or CO2 when given an alternative.......,
Not mention that irritating wasp that always has to hang around.
 
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Decades ago I can easily catch mosquitoes as they fly slower. Have they evolved now? They fly so fast and even zigzagging that I have difficulty chasing them at my room.

I bought mosquito repellant with ingredient "N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide" yesterday. But I read in: http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/hiking/deet.htm

"Oddly enough, scientists aren't even completely certain why DEET works. Perhaps it prevents the mosquito from recognizing you as prey. Or perhaps it coats you with a scent mosquitoes simply find revolting. Either way, it doesn't kill the insects -- it just repels them."

Any has updated idea how DEET work? If mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide coming from our nose.. maybe DEET can mask the carbon dioxide?

Also. What is the safest mosquito spray that you can apply inside room that kills them. I seldom used it because afraid it may not be good for health. Maybe there is a safest one that can't harm you so badly?

Appreciate any you who can help!
 

jim mcnamara

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https://phys.org/news/2011-09-deet-insects.html

There may be more newer information. This says that DEET interferes with one of the proteins involved with smelling compounds humans have in their breath.

The molecule 1-octen-3-ol in human breath has two separate effects with and without DEET present. In the first the molecule is detected in the second the molecule is not detected because DEET actually reverses the effect of 1-octen-3-ol on the sensory protein.
 

jim mcnamara

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Spraying is another question. There are laws that vary greatly by jurisdiction, country to country as well.

In the US I suggest contacting the USDA county agent. Those people know what is safe, good, and legal to spray and what to spray for a given set of pests -- where you live in the US.

Someone from your specific place where if you live outside the US may have other suggestions
 
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https://phys.org/news/2011-09-deet-insects.html

There may be more newer information. This says that DEET interferes with one of the proteins involved with smelling compounds humans have in their breath.

The molecule 1-octen-3-ol in human breath has two separate effects with and without DEET present. In the first the molecule is detected in the second the molecule is not detected because DEET actually reverses the effect of 1-octen-3-ol on the sensory protein.
For those using DEET mosquito repellant.. should you apply it on the entire visible skin to avoid any mosquito landing on your body or is the logic behind DEET just putting in isolated area of skin just for the purpose of producing odour for the fly to smell.. if this is so, it means you can even put the DEET on your bed headboard (inches from you) for example and not on the body?
 

jim mcnamara

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No you put it on unclothed skin - face, hands., etc. Any bare skin without repellent is a bug smorgasbord.
 
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No you put it on unclothed skin - face, hands., etc. Any bare skin without repellent is a bug smorgasbord.
But if DEET works just to disturb the mosquito sense of smell.. can't it smell it if you put in in half of your palm instead of the whole palm?
 

jim mcnamara

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I'm quoting directions from a bottle of Deepwoods DEET that I have had for years. Contact your county agent (or equivalent) if you do not want to go with those directions. There are other alternatives to reduce mosquito problems, like scentless soaps, etc. Again, ask someone who has definitive information.
 
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I'm quoting directions from a bottle of Deepwoods DEET that I have had for years. Contact your county agent (or equivalent) if you do not want to go with those directions. There are other alternatives to reduce mosquito problems, like scentless soaps, etc. Again, ask someone who has definitive information.
The local supplier doesn't have scientists with them.. so they though the DEET worked by giving barrier between skin and mosquito so they earn more money if you spread it to every part of the skin of the body. But friends I know who use them said the smell is enough to repel mosquitoes so they just apply it in isolated parts in their body..
 

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