Are You a Mosquito Magnet?
Have you ever found yourself at an outdoor gathering constantly batting away mosquito after mosquito while others seem to be relatively unaffected by the swarming pests? Do you wonder why you are the apparent pièce de resistance for mosquitoes anytime you venture outdoors? Well, first of all, it’s not all in your head! Some people really are mosquito magnets. Read on to find out why!
A Genetic Predisposition to the Mosquito Bite
Maybe you’ve jokingly been told your skin is just sweeter than everybody else’s. There’s some truth to that actually. Genetics account for many of the things that will attract a mosquito in search of a meal. In fact, research has indicated that genetics determine a whopping 85% of your attractiveness to mosquitoes. For starters, your blood type largely contributes to how appealing you are, with type O being the most appealing and type A the least. Beyond blood type, people with a high concentration of steroids or cholesterol on their skin’s surface smell sweeter to mosquitoes. That doesn’t necessarily mean mosquitoes are drawn to people with high cholesterol. Rather, people who are more efficient at processing cholesterol will often have the byproducts on their skin’s surface and become a tantalizing treat for any mosquito buzzing nearby.
Every Breath You Take, a Mosquito Will Be Smelling You
Mosquitoes use carbon dioxide as their primary means for identifying targets, which is actually pretty clever because all vertebrates (i.e. those with blood in their veins) emit CO2 every time they exhale. In fact, mosquitoes are so good at picking up the scent of your carbon dioxide emissions, they can smell you from more than 50 yards away! Which means, the more you breathe, the more you will appeal to those swarming, disease-carrying pests. The larger you are, the more carbon dioxide you produce, which explains why adults are more susceptible to the bite than children. Pregnant women are also more appealing; they’re breathing for two and also have a warmer than average body temperature. Enjoy outdoor activities like running, biking, or hiking? Not only are you creating more CO2, but you’re also creating more lactic acid, which smells like dinner to those blood-thirsty mosquitoes.
A Mosquito’s Vision, Like the T-Rex, is Based on Movement
Because blood-carrying vertebrates aren’t the only sources of CO2 emissions, mosquitoes use secondary cues to differentiate their next meal from automobiles and decomposing plants. Such cues are largely vision-based. They look for objects that stand out against the bright sky, so people wearing dark colors will attract more attention than those in lighter shades. It’s pretty simple to combat this attraction; simply wear lighter colors when you’re outdoors during peak mosquito times (dawn and dusk especially). However, the other significant cue – movement – is pretty difficult to avoid, unless you plan on sitting absolutely still the entire time you’re outside.
Tips for Avoiding the Mosquito Bite
So what can you do if you’re a mosquito magnet? First, make your body less appetizing by using a bug repellent with at least 23.8% DEET concentration. You can use a lower concentration, but you’ll need to re-apply more frequently and the effectiveness may be diminished.
More importantly, make your environment less mosquito-friendly! Mosquitoes hang out near standing water, so be sure to scout your property for these often-overlooked hot spots. Also, keep a fan blowing near outdoor gathering areas. Mosquitoes cannot fly in any wind greater than 1 mph, so a gentle breeze is enough to keep them at bay. Best of all, have your property professionally treated with a backpack misting application that will target all the mosquito hangouts around your yard. Don’t let those blood-thirsty pests crash your next backyard BBQ!
Contact Skeeter-Treaters Today to Make Your Outdoors Great Again!
The experts at Skeeter-Treaters will carefully scout out and eliminate or address these breeding hotspots in your backyard. Don’t spend your summer hiding indoors! Contact us to make your outdoors safe and enjoyable again!