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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

How to Get Mosquitoes to Bite Your Friends

By April 6, 2010

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Your nemesis, the mosquito. (USDA)... not that actually want mosquitoes to bite your friends, but I think you will agree you don't want to be bitten. Here's a list of things that attract mosquitoes. If you want to avoid an encounter with the vampiric swarm you can avoid doing any of these things yourself or you can encourage those around you to do them. Whatever works.
  • Wear Dark Clothing
    Many mosquitoes use vision to locate hosts from a distance. Dark clothes and foliage are initial attractants.

  • Exercise
    You give off more carbon dioxide when you are hot or have been exercising. A burning candle or other fire is another source of carbon dioxide.

  • Eat Bananas and French Fries
    You release more lactic acid when you have been exercising or after eating certain foods (e.g., salty foods, high-potassium foods).

  • Wear Perfume or Cologne
    In addition to perfumes, hair products, and scented sunscreens, watch for the subtle floral or fruity fragrances from fabric softeners and dryer sheets.

  • Have Cold Hands
    Mosquitoes are attracted by a particular temperature range. The exact temperature depends on the type of mosquito. Many mosquitoes are attracted to the slightly cooler temperatures of the extremities.

  • Perspire, Swim, or Play in the Sprinkler
    Mosquitoes are attracted by perspiration because of the chemicals it contains and also because it increases the humidity around your body. Even small amounts of water (e.g., moist plants or mud puddles) will draw mosquitoes. Standing water also allows mosquitoes to reproduce.

I am a veritable mosquito magnet. I wear a lot of black, favor Coppertone™ when outdoors (bloodsuckers seem to love the subtle jasmine scent of that sunscreen), and can be found near the beach or poking at the barbeque, sipping a sports drink or fruity drink. Don't be like me! Or if you are, try one of these natural mosquito repellents.

Comments

April 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm
(1) Garrett Harrison says:

i wear alot of dark clothing and exsersize. what do i do? i’m addicted to doing that.

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