It’s all you can do sometimes to keep mosquitoes off you when you’re trying to enjoy the glorious outdoors. Little do you know you’re a living, breathing mosquito magnet with few, if any, chances of going incognito. The entire surface of the planet is mosquito country, safe for a few territories with extremely harsh climate, such as Antarctica. So try as you might, you can’t outrun them, you can’t hoodwink them, and there’s nowhere to run to for sanctuary.
These vampire-insects need your blood to develop their fertile eggs, and no amount of fervent swatting or prancing about flinging your arms in desperation will deter a mosquito female from trying to pass on her genes for the continuation of her blood-thirsty species.
If you happen to be among the 10% of the population whose blood is particularly yummy by mosquito standards, and you don’t use any form of repellent, you’d be well advised to stay indoors, because studies have found that 85% of humans’ susceptibility to mosquito bites stems from genetic factors, i.e. you can’t make yourself less attractive to mosquitoes however much you try. If only that worked with human members of the opposite sex, as well…
Inevitable Mosquito Attractants
Apparently, there are certain mosquito-luring factors that can be helped, while others are entirely out of our control. Among those that will blow the whistle on you for as long as you live, we could mention:
- Steroids and cholesterol. Some people process cholesterol more efficiently and have copious amounts of byproducts on their skin’s surface at all times. The same can be said for steroids.
- Acids. Lactic and uric acid, in particular, are exceedingly alluring to mosquitoes, and a mother-to-be mosquito would never say no to such come-hither signals. These acids are present on your sweat, so the more you perspire, the more appetizing your skin becomes to this female insect.
- Carbon dioxide. It may surprise you, but mosquitoes don’t prefer the vulnerable and the weak when it comes to the people they’re having for dinner. However much naughty children deserve a good onslaught of mosquito bites every now and then, the odds are the pesky winged invaders would be more attracted to somebody emitting high doses of carbon dioxide, like an adult. Pregnant ladies aren’t spared the bloodshed, either. They breathe more heavily and release more carbon dioxide in the air. Mosquitoes will fly in a zig-zag pattern following the plume of CO2, and they will zero-in on the expectant and unsuspecting victim.
- Type O blood. The most frequent blood type in the entire world, yet quite rare in parts of Europe, this is also the most sought-after type of blood for transfusions. It can safely be given to anyone, as it contains no A or B antigens. Mosquitoes seem to prefer it as well, studies show.
Preventable Mosquito Attractants
There are a few non-genetic and preventable mosquito lures, as well:
- Movement. Visual stimuli are the main attractants for a mosquito which isn’t in your immediate vicinity. Sedentary people aren’t in the spotlight half as much as athletic ones, and this applies to a mosquito audience, as well.
- Dark colors. Should you choose to don your darkest attire, a mosquito will not only appreciate the effort you’ve put into your outfit, but make certain you feel the sting. Wearing dark clothes around a mosquito is like wearing a ‘Bite me’ sign; it will get you noticed.
- Heat. Mosquitoes are like heat-seeking missiles. At the right proximity, they’ll spot you and hunt you down like a groupie in heat.
- Fragrances. Only flowery, fruity scents could captivate a mosquito female’s attention more than body odor, so you’d be wise to put a lid on your perfume or fragrance, literally. If you’re planning to suffocate the mosquitoes to death with your cologne, think again.
- Skin lotions and creams with alpha hydroxy acids( AHAs). Lactic acid, that most fiendish of back-stabbers, is an alpha hydroxyl acid. Some body, hand and face creams are laced with this mosquito-magnetizing compound, so be sure to check the labels before buying them.
- Source of standing water. Mosquitoes need standing water to breed, so avoid being close to stagnant water at all times.
- Limburger cheese. The malaria mosquito thinks this cheese is absolutely divine. Not because of its taste, but because of its smell, which resembles that of human feet. It should, considering it’s caused by the same bacteria.
- Alcohol. Mosquitoes love to share a drink with you, or through you, whichever way you choose to look at it. Ethanol in your blood will have them swooping in for the kill faster than you can blink.
Though it seems every pore on our body attracts mosquitoes to bite and suck the sap out of us, we needn’t let this prevent us from enjoying the splendors of our natural environment. If we’re so adamant about breathing, being a certain blood type, wearing dark clothes, staying warm, drinking, moving, eating cheese, and using lotions and perfume, there are some very effective mosquito repellents currently on the market which could take all the unpleasantness out of our daily outings.