There are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes, each with its own set of behaviors. There are 175 species found in the united States, but most mosquitoes you will encounter come from just three or four species. Unfortunately, among these species are mosquitoes that are active at dawn and dusk, in the evening, and during the day, so mosquito activity is never completely out of the question. But when are mosquitoes most active?
Activity in Georgia, USA
The most common moquito species in Georgia and the American South are Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Culex pipiens, Aedes aegypti, and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito). In Africa, the Anopheles mosquito can be a carrier for malaria, but in the U.S. malaria has been eradicated, making the Anopheles more of a pest than a danger. Culex and Aedes mosquitoes are more problematic. Culex mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus and the Aedes varieties are carriers for Zika and dengue, so both should be avoided if possible.
Some mosquitoes prefer the daytime. Aedus mosquitoes are most active during the day, although they will also feed during the early morning dawn and early evening dusk hours. These mosquitoes are most commonly found in areas of thick vegetation and woods. They are also active in areas of tall grass.
Mosquitoes that are active during the day can make outdoor activities a buggy hassle. If you want to play outside in your backyard, relax in a hammock or deck chair, or enjoy an outdoor meal, you may fall prey to these pests. These pests are attracted to human sweat and the CO2 we produce, both of which are hard to avoid on a hot summer day.
Sweat contains lactic acid, which attracts mosquitoes. But it may be hard to avoid sweating on hot and humid summer day in Atlanta. Sweat from working out is especially high in lactic acid. Lactic acid accumulates in your muscles when they are working hard. The excess lactic acid is then excreted through the skin in sweat, which becomes especially attractive to mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes also identify their victims by tracking CO2, which is emitted every time you exhale. People with a high metabolic rate produce more CO2. If you have just worked out, your metabolic rate will be higher. Pregnant and overweight people also have higher resting metabolic rates. Children tend to have lower metabolic rates and produce less mosquito attracting CO2.
Avoiding Daytime Mosquitoes
The Aedus mosquito species are most active during the day. Avoiding them is important, since they can be a vector for several diseases. Besides avoiding disease, any mosquito bite will be an itchy nuisance at best, and if you are particularly sensitive even a couple of bites can be so uncomfortable that they keep you up at night and affect you throughout the day.
There are some simple ways to avoid daytime mosquitoes. One simple, though very localized, solution is to point a fan in your direction. Mosquitoes have trouble flying in as light a breeze as 1 mph, so they will avoid a blowing fan.
Another thing to consider is your clothing. Dark clothing is easy for mosquitoes to spot. Since mosquitoes don’t like breezes, they often fly close to the ground or in heavy bush and sheltered areas. They look for large dark silhouettes of possible targets, so wearing dark clothing will make you stand out. Lighter colored and white clothing is like mosquito camouflage, making you harder to spot. Long sleeves and long clothes also offer some protection against mosquitoes, especially thicker materials like denim and flannel. A flannel shirt in mid-summer may seem unappealing, but any added protection will help to reduce mosquito bites. For extra protection, you can spray your clothing with a repellent that contains at least 15% deet. Just be sure to follow the directions for safe use and application.
One sure fire way to avoid mosquito bites is to eliminate mosquitoes altogether. You might get some localized relief from fans and simple repellent like citronella candles. But if you want to create a mosquito free zone around your home, your best choice is to seek the help of professionals. Mr. Mister offers a variety of services to help keep your home and property mosquito free, eliminating the need for some of the more drastic (and unappealing) anti-mosquito measures.
Dawn and Dusk
Culex and Anopheles mosquitoes are not especially active during the day. Instead, they prefer to come out during the early morning dawn hours and then again in the evening hours as the sun begins to disappear, darkness falls, and temperatures begin to cool. This poses a problem for people who, like these mosquitoes, avoid the hottest part of the day and prefer to enjoy a warm summer evening more than a hot summer day. These are the bugs that will attack you during a pleasant evening barbecue or a relaxed firefly spotting session.
While these mosquitoes are most active during the early morning and evening hours, they can continue to be active during the night, especially when the nights are warm and humid. They are most active earlier in the evening, with activity tapering off as the night wears on. One reason for this is that they feed most when they first become active, but as they become full they begin to bite less. However, a mosquito that has found its way into your home may bite people in the home multiple times throughout the night, since the people in the home represent a very limited set of available targets.
Avoiding Dawn and Dusk Mosquitoes
Avoiding mosquitoes that come out at dawn and dusk is similar to avoiding daytime mosquitoes, but you may have some extra options. For instance, it may be more realistic to use long sleavs and pants as a barrier when the sun is not at its peak. It is also worth considering your evening barbecue refreshments, as some studies indicate beer consumption as an attraction to mosquitos. While this is especially true for beer, any alcohol consumption will increase your metabolic rate, which increases your CO2 output, one of the main ways that mosquitoes identify their targets.
In the evening a citronella candle may seem especially appealing. It has repellent benefits and the romantic nature of a flickering candle. But citronella candles have a very limited range. They can also produce unpleasant odors, making them not the best solution to a persistent mosquito problem. Personal protection with spray on bug repellents can be helpful. But the smell and feel of those repellents can be off-putting.
There are better ways feel free to enjoy your home and its outdoor spaces in the evening. Your best solution is to eliminate mosquitoes altogether, rather than just trying to repel them from a small area. Mr. Mister can help by creating a mosquito-free zone around your home. Our ClearZone Misting System treats your property with a 100% biodegradable mist that clings to the underside of foliage and keeps mosquitoes away for 21 days. It kills adult mosquitoes and larvae and also inhibits mosquito reproduction. An automated misting system will apply the spray automatically at dawn and dusk, when some mosquitoes are most active, without the need for repeat visits from a Mr. Mister team member.