Do Mosquitoes Really Prefer Some People Over Others?
No, you’re not imagining it – mosquitoes really do prefer to bite some people over others. But if you happen to be one of the unlucky ones who mosquitoes treat like a smorgasbord, you’ll be relieved to find out there are a few things you can do to make yourself less appealing to the bloodthirsty little pests.
Discourage Mosquitoes to Prevent Disease
Becoming less attractive to mosquitoes is a worthwhile effort, since every new bite increases your chances of contracting a mosquito-borne illness, like West Nile virus and encephalitis, both of which are prevalent in New England mosquito populations, along with some less common threats to the region, such as zika, malaria and several others.
Why Do Mosquitoes Target Some People More than Others?
Mosquitoes look for several environmental clues to detect potential prey. People who get bitten a lot tend to overproduce these signals. For example, mosquitoes seek out air rich in carbon dioxide because they know that tends to mean a potential host is breathing nearby. This is why runners are notorious mosquito targets as they will naturally be expelling more carbon dioxide than someone at rest.
That means the next time you go for a jog during peak mosquito season, try to complete your cool-down indoors, away from the swarm.
There’s another group of people who tend to produce extra carbon dioxide when they exhale, but there’s not much they can do about it besides wait it out – all nine months of it. Yes, studies have shown mosquitoes prefer pregnant over non-pregnant women, as those with a bun in the oven tend to breath out more air overall, which includes plenty of CO2.
Another factor that will make mosquitoes pony up to your skin like the bar at a local pub is if you’ve been drinking beer. Scientists weren’t able to identify the exact correlation, only that, for whatever reason, mosquitoes prefer to bite people who have been enjoying the frothy adult beverage more than those who haven’t been. So lay off the suds before venturing out into mosquito country.
Finally, the color of your clothes can influence whether or not you appear on mosquitoes’ radar. Although mosquitoes target potential hosts by following the carbon dioxide trail, when it’s time to come in for a landing they go visual. Dark colors will make you stand out and it’ll be easier for mosquitoes to recognize you as a snack. Light colors, on the other hand, will make you blend in with your surroundings almost like camouflage.
What Other Steps Can I Take to Steer Clear of Mosquitoes?
Additional preventative measures you can take to lessen the chance of mosquito bites are to avoid wearing colognes or perfumes when heading outdoors – including scented soaps and body lotions – and, of course, to always wear insect repellent containing either DEET or picaridin.
Also in the works is a “natural” mosquito repellent being developed by scientists that uses the natural scent or pheromones from people who naturally aren’t attractive to mosquitoes. Until then, you’re best off sticking to some of the tried-and-true methods shared above.
If you’re thinking about getting ahead of this year’s mosquito season, our seasonal mosquito control program can cut down the mosquito population in your yard by up to 90%. Check out our mosquito control page and request a free quote.