The annoying buzz, the itchy bite and a possible disease-transmitting insect – mosquitoes can be dangerous and often interfere with outdoor activities. So it is worth knowing what attracts mosquitoes to people. With this knowledge, you can better protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. In the following article, we will go over the various traits and environmental factors that can bring mosquitoes closer to you and what can be done to reduce the risk.
1. Carbon Dioxide and Lactic Acid
Living creatures need oxygen to stay alive, and we exhale carbon dioxide as a byproduct of respiration. Mosquitoes are highly sensitive to smell and can detect carbon dioxide from up to 50 meters away. Lactic acid is another component of human respiration and is disposed of through sweat. Mosquitoes use this smell to track their prey and mosqitoes with a greater sense of smell can sense this component from even farther away.
1.1 Mosquito Repellent
To prevent mosquitoes from finding you, consider using mosquito repellent products. These products contain a range of chemical compounds including DEET, picaridin, and others that create an invisible barrier around you, making it harder for mosquitoes to locate people.
1.2 Natural Repellent
Natural options such as citronella, lavender, and peppermint can also be used to create a barrier of protection against mosquitoes. Burning a citronella candle is an effective way to keep mosquitoes away from the area. These candles can be used anywhere and are especially useful for outdoor activities.
2. Heat and Humidity
Mosquitoes prefer warm and humid conditions. As the temperatures start to rise, the number of mosquitoes increases, making it more likely for them to find and bite humans. They are especially drawn to dark colored clothing and materials, which absorb and maintain heat.
2.1 Stay Cool
If you live in a warm and humid climate, try to keep yourself cool by wearing light-colored, lightweight clothing. Stay away from tightly-fitted clothes that can make you overheat and attract mosquitoes. If possible, try to stay indoors during the peak temperature times of the day.
A dehumidifier can be used to reduce indoor moisture and reduce the number of mosquitoes inside the home. This is especially helpful for homes in warm and humid climates. Just ensure that the unit is sized correctly for the living space and maintained regularly.
3. Dark Clothing
While mosquitoes rely on their sense of smell to find their prey, they can also be attracted to dark colored clothing. Wearing light-colored clothing helps reduce the risk of being bitten by a mosquito, as they contrast against their environment and makes them stand out.
3.1 Mosquito-Resistant Clothing
Clothing items that have been treated with insect repellent can be used to keep mosquitoes away. This can be especially helpful for outdoor activities in warm, humid climates where mosquitoes are more prevalent. Wear trousers, long-sleeved shirts and tuck pants into socks to protect exposed areas.
By wearing protective accessories, you can even further protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Hats, scarves, and bandannas can help reduce the risk of being bitten, as well as using mosquito nets and tents to create a mosquito-free zone.
Mosquitoes love sweet-smelling fragrances, and they are drawn to perfumes and other scented products we use to smell nice. To prevent being bitten, it is best to avoid wearing any scents that can attract mosquitoes.
5. Open Wounds
As gross as it may sound, open sores, wounds and bruises can be attractive to mosquitoes. The smell and moisture of a wound makes it an attractive destination for mosquitoes looking for a blood meal. Make sure to cover up any exposed wounds, which can help prevent mosquitoes from finding them.
Mosquitoes are attracted to sweat as it contains lactic acid, which can help them find their prey. When our body temperatures rise, we sweat to cool off, and this sweat can increase our risk of being bitten. To reduce the risk of being bitten, try to keep your body temperature cool and take frequent breaks if you are working or exercising outside.
7. Standing Water
Mosquitoes need standing water or damp conditions to lay their eggs. Check around your property for any standing water that can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Large bodies of water, such as ponds and lakes, can also be sources of mosquitoes.
7.1 Remove All Standing Water
The best way to control mosquitoes is to remove any standing water from your property. Empty out water from buckets, tires, bird baths and other containers before the eggs can hatch.
7.2 Use a Mosquito Net
If you live close to mosquito habitats, such as ponds and lakes, use a mosquito net to protect yourself and your family. You can use mosquito netting on your windows, doors or you can even sleep inside of a mosquito net.
8. Light Coloration
Mosquitoes can be drawn to bright lights, particularly in the evening. Keep lights off in your home and outside to prevent mosquitoes from entering. If you need to turn lights on, be sure to use light bulbs that have a yellow or red hue, as they are not as attractive to mosquitoes as brighter light sources.
9. Human Movement
Mosquitoes can detect movement from up to 10 feet away, particularly in low-light conditions. Try to move slowly and be aware of your movements when engaging in outdoor activities.
10. High Activity
High activity levels can also draw in mosquitoes. This is because the movement will relase CO2 and lactic acid, which will attract mosquitoes. attempt to be still and quiet when possible to reduce the chances of being bitten by a mosquito.
People Also Ask
Q1: Can Exercise Attract Mosquitoes?
Yes. High levels of physical activity can produce more body heat and sweat, both of which can attract mosquitoes. Slow, steady movements can help reduce the risk of being bitten.
Q2: Does Campfire Attract Mosquitoes?
In most cases, yes. The smoke from a fire can mask scents from other sources, such as humans, and make the scents more attractive to mosquitoes.
Q3: Does Light Color Attract Mosquitoes?
Yes, bright lights and clothing can attract mosquitoes. It is best to avoid bright, white light sources and wear light-colored clothing to reduce the risk of being bitten.
Q4: Does Alcohol Attract Mosquitoes?
Yes, alcohol consumption can increase the risk of being bitten by a mosquito. It increases body temperature and produces an odor that can attract mosquitoes.
Q5: Does Dish Soap Attract Mosquitoes?
No. Using dish soap to create a film on top of still water can be used to stop mosquito eggs from hatching, but it does not attract mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes can be pesky pests, especially during the warm and humid summer months. Knowing what attracts mosquitoes can help you identify sources