It's mosquito season in South Texas. Do you feel like mosquitos single you out?
The truth is, mosquitos can be attracted to someone for a multitude of very natural reasons, and knowing some of those reasons could help you avoid the little suckers.
SIGHT, SMELL, AND CARBON DIOXIDE
According to Jonathan Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida, a mosquito has very keen sight and smell for an insect of its size.
Much like many sci-fi monsters, mosquitoes are attracted to darker and warmer colors, movement, and a variety of certain smells including carbon dioxide, lactic acid, acetone, estradiol (a breakdown product of estrogen), and good old-fashioned body odor. Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, is one of the bigger factors, considering us humans regularly release it by breathing.
That means a smelly, heavy-breathing individual doing lawn work in a black, navy blue, or red t-shirt would be a prime subject for the bugger’s next meal. That also means people with a higher metabolism, pregnant women, and larger people, who produce more carbon dioxide, are more likely to become a victim of a mosquito bite.
PREGNANCY, HEAT, AND BLOOD TYPE
Pregnant women have more to worry about because of their naturally higher body heat. Mosquitos are also unfortunately attracted to heat.
About 80 percent of bodies secrete different chemicals through our pores as well, depending on blood type. Sure enough, some of these chemicals drive mosquitos wild for blood while others do not. According to Joseph Conlon, a medical entomologist and the technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association, it is very difficult to pinpoint any direct relationship between isolated scents and the attraction of mosquitoes. However, of the vast amount of chemicals with unique scents, scientists have discovered that there seems to be a correlation between certain species of mosquitos and the scents released by people with type “O” blood.
Regardless of blood type, pregnancy, or anything, mosquito bites should be avoided at all times.
Although a single mosquito bite isn’t very harmful to most people, the diseases that mosquitos carry can cause a great deal of harm and possibly death.
The City of Corpus Christi has some tips to reduce the risk of getting bit by a mosquito.
Remember the 5 D’s of Defense:
- DEET – Use insect repellent containing DEET.
- DRESS – Dress in long sleeves and pants when you’re outside.
- DAWN, DAYTIME, and DUSK – Dawn, Daytime and Dusk are the times of day when mosquitoes are most active. Avoid being outside during these times of day to prevent bites.
- DRAIN – Regularly drain standing water, including water that collects in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.
- DOCTOR – Consult a physician if you feel sick after being bitten.