Are you a Mosquito Magnet?

The other day, Karen and I were out for a walk with Ellie when we passed through what I call "mosquito alley" – an area near our home that's flanked on either side by wet, marshy land.

It's a mosquito's dream.

Typically, we try to avoid this stretch during the summer to avoid getting bit up.

But feeling overly confident, we threw caution to the wind and pressed on through.

Big mistake.

Within seconds, the mosquitoes were swarming.

Even poor Ellie was covered when she stopped to do her "business."

We all got bit, but Karen got it much worse than me.

It was as if the mosquitoes were drawn to her.

It got me wondering. Why was it that Karen got bit all over while I only took a couple bites on the arm?

After a little digging, I learned a few things make some folks more attractive to mosquitoes than others.

In Karen's case, they could have been drawn to her because of her shirt.

More specifically, the color of her shirt.

You see, Karen was wearing a black t-shirt that day.

And research has shown mosquitoes are attracted to the color black.

It could have also been her body odor.

I'm not saying she smells bad.

I personally love the way my wife smells.

Evidently, mosquitoes do too.

Mosquitoes are attracted to certain compounds found on human skin and in sweat.

And Karen seems to have more of those compounds than me.

Alcohol consumption may also play a role in attracting mosquitoes.

One study found that people who had enjoyed a beer were more attractive to mosquitoes than those who did not.

Karen didn't have any beer that day, so we can rule that one out.

Pregnant women are also mosquito magnets because they typically have a higher body temperature and exhale more carbon dioxide.

And the presence of both warmer temperatures and carbon dioxide alert mosquitoes that a host is nearby.

Karen is definitely not pregnant, so we can strike that one too.

So, most likely it was her black shirt and natural (lovely) body odor.

This time of year, mosquitoes can make any time outdoors unbearable, even a quick walk around the block.

It's near impossible to avoid all bites, but if you take steps to make yourself a less attractive host by picking lighter colored clothes and skipping the beer, time outdoors could be so much more enjoyable.

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Comments

Gay Lynn Hood - August 14, 2020

I also have taken B-Complex vitamins for years, and mosquitoes do not bother me at all. B-Vitamins have a smell and taste all their own and I think that is one reason they stay away. At any rate, I will always take B-Vitamin Complex.

Lee Askins, Major U S Army, Retired - August 12, 2020

I LEARNED THIS WHILE IN THE ARMY IN HAWAII (1965) PRIOR TO MY FIRST TOUR IN VIETNAM. I SERVED IN THE MEKONG DELTA WITH THE 25TH INFANTRY. THE MOSQUITO FIX PROVED TRUE MY SECOND TOUR IN NAM WHILE I WAS FLYING HELICOPTERS IN I CORPS UP NORTH. I ALSO SPENT SOME MISSION TIME IN THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA CANAL ZONE. I HAVE NEVER SPENT TIME ANYWHERE THAT MOSQUITOS WERE A PROBLEM FOR ME OR ANYONE IN THE UNITS I COMMANDED OR SOLDIERS WITHIN MY SPHERE OF INFLUENCE.

FOR A $1000 I’LL SHARE MY SECRET. JUST TEASING!!!! JUST LOAD UP 0N THE “B COMPLEX” VITAMINS A MONTH PRIOR TO MOSQUITO SEASON. DOUBLE UP ON B12 AND B6 FOR INFESTED AREAS. STAY ON THE VITAMINS UNTIL MOSQUITO SEASON IS OVER. THIS HAS WORKED FOR THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF PEOPLE I HAVE GIVEN THE ADVISE TO AND IF IT DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU CAN TRY TO GET AN EXEMPTION FROM DUTY AND GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.

Gina Black - August 12, 2020

I think Im the best or would it be worst at attracting all biting insects. No one around me is getting bitten, yet I’m covered in all kinds of bites. Mostly I think flies or what they call no-see-ums (yes there is such a think, its on the list of bugs that the bug repellant repels) because the bites are small red bumps that make you go crazy scratching. Mosquito bites on me are larger or get a bit larger from me scratching them & spider bites always seem to have a slight hole in the center. Horse Flys leave big holes where they bit chunks out of me. I don’t wear dark colors usually, don’t drink alcohol, can’t be pregnant Im a 59 year old that seems to have been created to feed the insect population in North Dakota. Bug repellant doesn’t seem to work, eating 2000 or 4000 mgs of garlic supplements like I was told would work doesn’t. I’ve quit using any lotions, body sprays & mists, don’t use hair spray or use anything in my hair but shampoo & occasionally conditioners. I don’t have a clue to what attracts them to me & my natural scent can’t be the problem because I’ve take vitamins & supplements that are known to cecreate an odor through your pores & still they eat me up every year. Ive considered getting a full-body mesh covering to keep them off of me, even though it would prevent me from free running around. I mean what would people think if they saw someone covered head to toe in a mesh screening suit shopping or getting gas? They’d have me committed out here. LOL Please, anyone have a solution to my problem? Ill try almost anything at this point.

Dorothy W Standing - August 12, 2020

Maybe Karen is sweeter than you. Years ago, someone told me that mosquitos love to bite people who taste sweet. I put it to the test. I refrained from eating anything with sugar, and, lo and behold, they went for other people and left me alone!

Rafael Moreno - August 12, 2020

I noticed when I apply try guard the odorant and sprayed up all over my body for some reason the mosquito stay away from my body even though I wear dark clothes there’s something in the deodorant that keeps them away this is the best treatment especially if you’re active and around sports activities try this it will work other friends had tried and it also work with them it really works

Sgt James G Moffat - August 11, 2020

Enjoyed your article about the unconditional love, service and benefits of dogs. As a child, I had polio, my
Boxer (Major) was not only my best friend, protector and constant companion – he was my healing spirit; without him I could not have overcome my ill childhood. Who would have imagined that years later another
dog (Mike) would save my life in a fierce fire-fight in Vietnam. When I fell wounded, without hesitation, Mike
rushed at be at my side; where he remained until I was medivaced out of harms way, flying with me back to
the field hospital, where he remained outside until he was allowed to visit. Heaven must be filled with Dog Angels. Sgt. James Moffat, SpcOps USMC/Ret. (Vietnam)

Sgt James G Moffat - August 10, 2020

Enjoyed your article about the unconditional love, service and benefits of dogs. As a child, I had polio, my
Boxer (Major) was not only my best friend, protector and constant companion – he was my healing spirit; without him I could not have overcome my ill childhood. Who would have imagined that years later another
dog (Mike) would save my life in a fierce fire-fight in Vietnam. When I fell wounded, without hesitation, Mike
rushed at be at my side; where he remained until I was medivaced out of harms way, flying with me back to
the field hospital, where he remained outside until he was allowed to visit. Heaven must be filled with Dog Angels. Sgt. James Moffat, SpcOps USMC/Ret. (Vietnam)

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