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Colours that repel insects

Updated March 23, 2017

Gardening and outdoor activities in the summer can be ruined when bugs threaten. A buzzing mosquito that won't go away can drive you crazy. A horse fly can cause a serious bite. Some insects can send you to the hospital. There are ways to make yourself less attractive to insects. Certain colours may actually repel them.

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Blue and green

Blue-green, perhaps painted on ceilings and walls, will repel many insects including bees, wasps, mosquitoes, and black flies. It is common to see window sills and porches painted "haint blue," as it is called. According to Howard Garret of Natural Organic Gardening and Living, "haint blue" is not a scientifically proven colour to repel insects.

Dark colours

White has been thought to be a preferable colour to repel most insects because flies and mosquitoes prefer dark colours like brown, navy blue, and black. According to The New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University, dark colours will attract mosquitoes because dark colours trap heat from the body that contains carbon dioxide. Wearing a white shirt instead of a black one won't necessarily prevent a bite, but it certainly may help.

Light colours

While dark colours may attract some insects, they may not be alluring to bees. According to Janice D. Green of Queen Bee Jan, bees are repelled by dark colours because they may signify an animal threatening them. Green maintains that light, but not bright colours, repel bees. It appears bees are attracted to bright colours because they can confuse bees because they are similar to vibrant flowers that symbolise pollination and lure bees into a garden.

Yellow bug light

You might often see insects swarming a porch light on a dark night. According to Pest Cemetery, insects are attracted to lights that radiate ultraviolet and blue light. These include black and florescent lights. Pest Cemetery maintains that yellow bug lights are extremely effective, because yellow is a colour many insects simply cannot see, so they will not be attracted to a yellow light.

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About the Author

Dan Boone has been writing since 1999. His work has appeared on and he wrote for the "Virgin Voice" magazine and its website, Virgin Voices. Boone has a Bachelor of Arts in composition and arranging from Berklee College of Music in Boston. He also holds a certificate in digital-sound engineering from the Trebas Institute in Montreal.

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