National Pest Management Month
Do mosquitoes like you? With all of the viruses mosquitoes can carry, this is probably not something you want. That is why we've put together this guide to help you make yourself less attractive to mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes don't bite people at random. You are probably already aware of this if you've ever felt like you were the only person at that outdoor party getting eaten alive. But, what makes one person more attractive to a mosquito than another?
If you are generating heat, mosquitoes will be drawn to you. This is a creature that feeds on blood. And, since blood is found in warm blooded animals, they are born with eyes that are able to pick up thermal sensory information. If you are hotter than the person next to you, those mosquitoes will target you. Some people that may be making more heat are: pregnant woman in later stages of pregnancy, joggers, overweight people, anyone helping a friend move, etc.
If you are drinking alcohol mosquitoes will take notice. When it comes to reducing mosquito bites, it helps to be the designated driver at the party. In a Japanese study, researchers found that those who had consumed a bottle of beer were actually more attractive to mosquitoes. It is believed that the mosquitoes were drawn to the increase in body temperature and the increased alcohol content in body sweat.
If you're sweating, mosquitoes will love you for it. This is a creature that loves any kind of moisture.
CO2 and chemicals in the breath. You probably already know that carbon dioxide draws mosquitoes in, but are you aware that some people also emit certain chemicals in their breath that mosquitoes are attracted to? While it is carbon dioxide that will draw mosquitoes to a crowd, these chemicals are a secondary attractant that may make them choose you.
Mosquitoes are attracted to certain clothes. It doesn't matter if you're dressed nice or in something old and frumpy. Mosquitoes are drawn to the brightness of the color. They have exceptionally poor eyesight, and will use silhouettes to zero in on their target. If you have dark clothing, they will be able to find you easier.
Okay. We looked at who is more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes. Now, let's look at what attracts mosquitoes to that backyard cookout or party.
Some mosquitoes eat nectar as well as blood. So, the more flowers you have, the more attractive your yard will be.
There are many types of plants that will lure mosquitoes in. But what you need to look for are plants that allow water to gather in troughs and pockets. Mosquitoes will breed in these places.
Anything that can hold standing water. Whether it is a clogged gutter, a bird bath, a discarded toy--if it can hold water, it will draw mosquitoes in. Removing standing water in your yard is one of the most effective ways to deter mosquitoes.
Tall grass, weeds, and bushes allow mosquitoes protection from the midday sun. The more you have in your yard, the more mosquitoes you'll have hanging out.
Bug zappers. You may consider getting a bug zapper to get rid of mosquitoes, but a study published in the journal PlOS One, showed that while mosquito zappers are good at luring mosquitoes onto your property, they are only effective at killing male (non-biting) mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are dangerous. These insects are directly responsible for over a million deaths worldwide every year. Even in the United States, where mosquito abatement and mosquito surveillance work to reduce the impact, mosquito-borne viruses still take lives. But, there is a fate worse than death. The threat of Zika virus is one that has life-altering implications. This is a virus that can cause microcephaly in unborn children at all stages of pregnancy, leading to children being born with abnormally small heads and brain damage.
Please take the time to learn ways to make yourself less attractive to mosquitoes, how to prevent bites, and how to remove attractants from your yard. This is a serious threat, but together we can protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country.
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