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.
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.