Monthly Archives: May 2016

Are You a Mosquito Magnet?

Are you that one person in the crowd who seems to always get mosquito bites when you’re outside? Why is it that they prefer some people over others?

Certain exhaled chemicals, such as carbon dioxide attract mosquitoes, so they tend to “bite” those who output more. If you like to exercise at dusk, you might become a mosquito magnet, since your carbon dioxide output is higher when you exercise. They are also drawn to lactic acid, which is released when you exercise. Estrogen is another chemical mosquitoes find desirable, meaning some women might be a target. Unfortunately, there is no magic trick to outputting less carbon dioxide, lactic acid or estrogen (other than holding your breath) so this is really up to your chemistry and body.

Your wardrobe might play a role as well. While not known for being fashion conscious, mosquitos do tend to seek out colors that contrast with their natural habitat (such as black). So even though black is a tried and true wardrobe staple, you might want to rethink wearing it to your next barbecue.

There isn’t proof that alcohol attracts mosquitoes, however some studies have shown they like to “bite” a person who has recently had a beer. The CDC hasn’t confirmed that specific foods and drinks make you more susceptible to mosquito bites, but anecdotal studies have raised the question.

When a mosquito finds a hospitable host, they search for the hottest part of the body – this would be the place where the blood is closest to the skin. Common target areas are the forehead, neck, elbows and wrists.   Good information to know when considering application of mosquito repellant.

Annoying as mosquitoes are, the science behind what attracts them to their hosts is fascinating. Obviously you don’t want to worry about your outfit, choice of barbecue beverage or exercise regimen this spring and summer, so protect yourself with mosquito repellant, preferably containing 25-30% DEET (concentrations can be higher if you are in a wetland, wooded or area infested with mosquitoes). And the best measure of prevention is to have monthly mosquito abatement visits with Triple S Services. Visit our mosquitoes page for more information.