Did you know only the female mosquitoes bite? Female mosquitoes use blood meals for its protein and other components it contains in order to produce their eggs. Males do not feed on blood; they mainly sip on plant nectar.
When females bite, they are doing what comes natural to them in order to survive. That does not make their bites any less bothersome, but maybe a little more understandable. There are 175 different species of mosquitoes and they have been around for about 170 million years, so they are not going away anytime soon.
What Attracts Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are attracted to humans by the release of carbon monoxide, something we do every minute of every day. Anything that can raise your metabolic rate is going to increase the amount of carbon monoxide you exhale. Pregnant women and people who are overweight have higher metabolic rates even at rest and so do people who exercise or are very active outside.
They are also attracted to movement, so the more active you are, the greater the chance you will be noticed. This can be increased by consuming beer at the same time as beer or most alcohols also increase your metabolic rate.
Mosquitoes can smell a victim from over 150 feet away. When we exercise or are very active, especially in the summer time, we develop body odor from the bacteria that grows on our skin. This body odor is an attractant to mosquitoes. Washing frequently is an option, but so is avoiding perfumes or other scents that can act as an attractant.
Some people claim that mosquitoes like them more, and to a certain extent that is true. Some people produce more secretions than others and those secretions are an attractant for mosquitoes. So is blood type. People with Type O blood seem to attract more mosquitoes than people with Type A or B. There is not much one can do about your genetics that dictate your blood type of how much of a certain substance your body produces. Be sure to take the proper precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites if you have Type O blood.
How to Avoid Mosquito Bites
Mosquitoes don’t have acute eye sight and rely on images that easily stand out. A dark background on a landscape is easier for a mosquito to distinguish than a lighter colored image. That is why wearing light colored clothing makes more sense, so does wearing clothing made of tightly woven, breathable fabrics that are more difficult for the long nose or proboscis of a mosquito to penetrate.
Some other ideas to avoid mosquito bites is to stay indoors at dawn or dusk as that is when mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes are very bad when it comes to flying and can be kept away with a fan when indoors. Even setting up a fan outdoors can provide some relief from mosquito bites.
Use an insect repellant when outside during the day or night. One of the most effective dermally-applied formulations is one that contains DEET, but at no less than 15% DEET. Another product that has been shown to be as effective as DEET is picaridin. A relatively new product is designed to be worn as a click-on container and houses a tiny fan that releases a small amount of metofluthrin.
Reducing water sources is very important when trying to reduce mosquito populations. Empty water dishes, flower pot drainage trays, watering cans, bird baths or any other place where water can collect and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Another great way to reduce mosquito populations around your home is to apply an insect control product or mosquito control application to the landscape and other places mosquitoes like to hide when they are not active. To learn more about these services, contact your local neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green.