Are You A Houston Mosquito Magnet?
Two people step outside to enjoy a warm, spring Houston evening. One relaxes in a deck chair enjoying the smells of the season. The other immediately starts swatting away those pesky, and sometimes dangerous, mosquitoes. Lab studies show that as many as 30-50% of people are attractors of mosquitoes. Why do these people seem to be magnets for mosquitoes? Researchers have been working on that question for decades, but recent studies indicate there are five good reasons:
- Darker Colors – Mosquitoes won’t bite you if they don’t see you, and vision is the first way that they hone in on you. Darker colors like navy blue, denim, black, and red stand out, especially later in the afternoon when their sense of sight is at its highest. Mosquitoes can also detect your movement better when you are wearing these darker colors.
- Higher CO2 output – Surprisingly enough, the carbon dioxide that you exhale is enough to attract mosquitoes. Once they see you, mosquitoes follow the trail of increased carbon dioxide output. Your CO2 output increases if you have a high metabolism, weigh more, are pregnant, or are at an increased activity level.
- Higher heat – Once a mosquito has found you, she (yes, only female mosquitoes bite) decides where to bite you based on how quickly she can get to the blood at the surface of your skin. Mosquitoes use heat to make this determination, which is why people are often bitten in the neck, forehead, elbows and wrists. If you just finished a long run or workout, your entire body may be susceptible. Exercising also gives off lactic acid, which seems to be an attractor.
- Cold beer – A small study showed that volunteers who drank a 12-ounce can of cold beer were more susceptible to mosquito bites. This could be because the beer-drinker’s body temperature was warmer, or they breathed a little harder after a beer, exhaling more carbon dioxide.
- Your individual smell – A recent study using twins showed the smell produced by your glands or released from tiny microbes, such as bacteria, in your skin could be a significant factor in mosquito attraction. Using identical and fraternal sets of twins, researchers concluded that different people produce different smells based on their genes, which really is uncontrollable. It could also be that your smell serves as a repellent, rather than an attractor of mosquitoes. Some believe that people who get fewer bites produce a smell that covers up or repels the smells that attract mosquitoes.
Researchers are now working to determine which genes attract mosquitoes so that they can develop an effective repellant, but with 350 compounds isolated from odors produced by human skin, that task is daunting and near impossible.
The mosquito misting systems provided by your Houston mosquito experts at The Mosquito Company will repel mosquitoes effectively and consistently. Contact us for more information about how our Houston mosquito misting systems can make your outdoor time more enjoyable for everyone, regardless of which of the above factors apply to you.