Why Mosquitoes Think You Are Extra Tasty & What You Can Do About It

mosquito-skeeter (1)

On a couple of our camping trips this summer we were besieged by mosquitoes. I don’t think there was anyone who came away completely unmolested but some of us definitely seemed to be tastier that others, with a trip to hot humid bug haven Florida coming up I thought I’d look into what is it about me that makes me so appetizing and see if there is anything I can do to make myself less appealing.
I came up with some facts that really surprised me so I thought I’d share my findings
1. Breathing.
Mosquitoes detect carbon dioxide in the air, & can smell their dinner from an astonishing distance of 50 meters, once they get a whiff they fly in a zigzag pattern through the CO2 plume until they zero in the source. Cut down on exercise later in the day when mosquitoes are most active.
2. Movement
Mosquitoes first locate potential victims using their sight, the more you run around, the more mozzy attention you attract, they see you as a waiter waving them to a free table at your skin smorgasbord
3. Heat Skeeters are heat-seeking missiles. They can’t sense your body heat from a great distance, once they get within a few yards, your warmth will welcome them with open (bare) arms.
4. Body Odor the more you move the more you sweat and now you have added the sweet sweaty smell of lactic acid on your skin, a succulent sauce inviting your mozzy neighbors over for chow.
5. Lotion If you do decide to shower off, be careful you aren’t following your ablutions with lotion, containing “alpha hydroxy,” as this will return a hearty helping of luscious lactic acid right back on to your skin!.
6. Color of Clothing.mosquito bites-skeeter (2)
Mozzys like dark colors, especially blue. They spot hosts by comparing your silhouette to the horizon. Dark colors stand out, while light shades blend in, Now this really irks me, we always dress in dark clothing when camping, I really don’t want to see just how dusty and filthy we are!
7. Socks.
A tent reeking of stinky feet may be repellant to yours truly but Mosquitoes love smelly feet. In an experiment Entomologist Daniel L. Kline actually used 3-day-old dirty socks as a mosquito lure socks, the bacteria that grow on human feet proved irresistible to them.
8 Perfume.
Discerning skeeters are especially attracted to floral scents
9. Eat, drink and attract many!
Studies show people who’ve had a few beers, drank coffee or indulged in some strong smelling cheese tend to score the most mosquito bites. Beware the Limburger, this cheese is actually made with the same bacteria that makes your feet stink!
10. Dusk and Dawn mosquitoes usually feed at dawn and dusk when the wind tends to die down and the humidity rises.
So what to do?
A Mosquito bite could mean more than a few days of itching, for some people severe allergic reactions can follow a bite and not to mention that threat of mosquito-transmitted illnesses.
The West Nile virus appeared in the U.S. in 1999. In 2008 alone, the CDC reported 1,356 cases of West Nile throughout the U.S. and 44 deaths.
• DEET continues to be most popular chemical in repellents, Repellents with 23.8% DEET (most formulas contain 10% – 30%) protects for about 5 hours.
• Picaridin has proven to be as effective as DEET but is pleasanter to use as it is odorless. Picaridin is safe for children older than 2 months.
• Avon’s Skin-So-Soft, o has been marketed as a mosquito repellent in the U.S. Research shows it’s much less effective than DEET.
• DeckMate Mosquito Repellent, available as a paper strip, to be placed in outdoor areas like patios and decks. It can also be worn; it comes in a small container with a replaceable cartridge. Clip onto a belt or clothing, it relies on a battery-powered fan to release the mosquito repellent into the area, surrounding and protecting the wearer
Non Chemical-based Alternatives
If you want to avoid chemical-based repellents altogether try these.
• Oils — citronella, cedar, peppermint, lemongrass, and geranium — provide short-lived protection.
• Oil of eucalyptus products, may offer longer-lasting protection
• Repel – uses oil of lemon eucalyptus offers protection similar to low concentrations of DEET. Lemon eucalyptus is safe for children older than 3 years
• Don’t Bite Me! Skin patches containing thiamine (vitamin B1) produces skin odor female mosquitoes don’t like.SUN SLEEVEZ ARM SLEEVES
Bugs Be Gone
• Mosquito traps, work by emitting substances that biting mosquitoes find attractive — such as carbon dioxide, heat, moisture, then trap or kill female mosquitoes.
• Insect shield repellent apparel — clothing infused with the chemical insecticide permethrin.
• Find and eliminate standing water, clogged gutters, garbage cans, bird baths even the crevices of plastic toys are an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes,

So there it is, I shall spend my evenings dressed in all white, (sorry I shan’t be able to help with cooking or doing anything dirty, I’ve gone from mozzie magnet to stain magnet) situate myself in front of a fan and lay quite still on the chaise lounge not breaking a sweat and resisting any cheesy appetizers.
Thankfully I didn’t read anything about mosquitoes having a fondness my favorite red liquid, which I will of course sip slowly!

About sunnysleevez

I'm a freckly red head, originally from London now living in LA with 2 pale children. Frankly with our coloring we have no business being such an outdoorsy family and living in southern California. I grew up in a time when factor 8 sun milk was considered the best protection available to combat the hot rays of a holiday in southern Spain, that lead to 3rd degree burns and the rest of the vacation spent in the shade of our apartment. As a family we love to be outside, going to the beach, camping, swimming & hiking. We can't completely avoid the sun (nor should we) but taking sensible measures to avoid unnecessary UV damage is a priority. How do we do that? By staying in the shade in the middle of the day, wearing sun protective clothing (that's why I created Sunny Sleevez), a broad brimmed hat, UV rated sunglasses, using chemical-free broad spectrum sun screen on exposed areas & eating a healthy diet with as few chemicals as possible & lots of antioxidants.
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31 Responses to Why Mosquitoes Think You Are Extra Tasty & What You Can Do About It

  1. Brilliant post! This year I suffered much more from mosquito bites as it got for the first time ever, terribly infected & needed antibiotic cream with cortisone to stop the infection from going up in the bloodstream.
    I’ll make sure to print out your precautions & check them out before any holidays.
    Thanks a bunch!

  2. A very helpful and informative post. Mosquitoes, and how to avoid them, is one of our preoccupations, also. Two things we do: First, we will often pop a piece of minty gum in the mouth on the way out of the door to the garden. It confuses their noticing the CO2 of our breathing a bit. We also use a Citrus based skin lotion on all exposed skin. Not only does that keep mosquitoes away, but also chiggers, ticks, and other creepy crawlies. No DEET in this home or on this skin…. we cover up and confuse the odors to stay bite free (mostly). Best wishes, WG

    • zirah1 says:

      Good tips, and I’m w/ you about the Deet and anything else not made by Mother Nature.

      • The chemicals out there are just too dangerous! So many wonderful essential oils will keep the insects off of us 😉

      • zirah1 says:

        Yes, I recently did a training on essential oils and am loving all the things I’m finding they can be used for. Also, the recent Essential Oils Revolution Summit was timed perfectly w/ my growing interest in the subject. As they said, “Medicine Cabinet, Meet Mother Nature!” I really think e.o.s are the way/wave of the future in health care and healthier living around the home.

      • I hadn’t heard of the summit, but am so happy to know that essential oils are getting more well-known among a wider group of families. They certainly are safer and more affordable…. and give us more control over our health and well being than the current wave of pharmaceuticals . Thank you so much for sharing this. Best wishes, WG

  3. Lisa at fLVE says:

    Bring a fan with you to Florida. That’s what they do there to repell. Blow the fan around you like a shield and they can’t get into your zone.

  4. Loca Gringa says:

    Excellent article! Having contracted Chikungunya a couple months ago I can sure appreciate the added hints. But damn, the little “bug-gers” are not all equal. For example the ones we have in DR are so crafty, they can bite you and you don’t even notice while they are siphoning you. You notice the itch later … hence, grrr … Chikungunya 😦

  5. Sunnyheart says:

    I love your sense of humor!! And naturally your great ideas on how to repel the mosquitoes.
    I read recently that a sheet of bounce (fabric softener) will work in the pocket. I mean, in case you run out of whites. 🙂

  6. Mosquitoes are the bane of every campers life! We use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and citronella oil. It works for hours & is cheap. After about 5 minutes, the vinegar smell is gone.

  7. mommermom says:

    I don’t usually have a problem with mosquitos in California but on our summer vacation this year, I was attacked everywhere we went! Good information. Thanks! 🙂

  8. nonnativistlandcare says:

    I’d theorised about mozzies being attracted to heat after seeing one distracted by my coffee cup. Thanks for confirmation. I’ve also seen two that seemed to be feeding on a half eaten apple left out over night (kids). I guess they couldn’t have been, but they certainly were attracted to it. I wonder if that was due to CO2 emissions, or something else.

  9. UJ says:

    I thought it was very informative. So much so that I put part of your story on my blog, but I put a link back to this site for them to finish the story. I hope you don’t mind. If you do, let me know and I’ll remove it.

  10. Mosquitoes are horrible! I grew up in Minnesota where the mosquito is the state bird. I have in fact employed the ‘hold your breath’ strategy…however it was never too successful, so I then used the “Run inside and hide” strategy. That seemed to work well.
    Thanks for the info! Some of these are new to me so I will definitely keep them in mind when I go back to visit.

  11. Nicko Vargas says:

    Very informative article! This will be very helpful in camping and in hiking trips. Thanks!

  12. Qiuuing says:

    This is very informative! Now I know what to do to avoid all these mosquito bites!

  13. Haha, fun read! I just had my first experience with sandflies, they’re quite horrible as well! x

  14. tupactip says:

    I have a personal experience related to mosquitoes. For me I was born in America lived most my life there and the past few years I have lived in the philippines the past few years. For me in America I lived many different places all over the nation and mosquitoes almost never trouble me there was many troubling all around me but they just avoided me. Yet now that I live in philippines if there is one mosquitoes it will find me. I don’t know what changed?!?

  15. fivezero says:

    Nice post! I unfortunately react very badly to mosquito bites. Thanks!

  16. zirah1 says:

    Entertaining post and very useful info. Glad you gave some all-natural forms of mosquito repellent/protection.

  17. Reblogged this on Boots, Thongs and Sarong and commented:
    As someone who is usually the mosquito repellant for others, this post has some great tips for minimising the onslaught.

  18. Marcella Rousseau says:

    I have the joyous job of mowing my lawn for 3 1/2 hours every two weeks so try doing that and not sweating, or causing movement! I am fillet mignon to mosquitoes. I even bought a mosquito net to wear around my head because that is where they are fiercest: my face and eyes. I have been known to become feverish from mosquito bites and physically ill. I usually mow the west side of my backyard first because that is where they are the worst (thanks to my neighbor having an above-ground pool that he never emptied or covered). I am usually covered from head to toe in clothing no matter how high the temperature and probably lose 5 lbs of water from sweating in the oppressive humidity. I try to pick the coolest time of the week and the day to mow and watch the weather forecast diligently. I read recently to wear colors that blend in to the background, so that would be green for me. I’ll have to buy green pants. I bought peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils recently so I’m going to give them a try this summer. I’ve already mowed a few days ago and didn’t have one bite so they must not be out yet. I think my neighbor got rid of his pool but I’ll have to check. That would be great if he did! Thanks for the mosquito reminder. I tend to forget about it each year until I’ve suffered from a few bites and then I remember!

  19. Hubby is a mosquito magnet – one reason we chose not to live in Florida. We tried every commercial product on the market. They would even bite him through his clothes, through the sheets. He was not amused that they left me alone. 😉

  20. natalieschindler says:

    Thank you for this post. I have literally been attacked by the mosquitos every time I go outside. I literally have to hide in the car all the time…
    Now I know what not to do !!!

  21. Reblogged this on Logging DIY Ideas and commented:
    Tis the season for skeeter hell unfortunately 😦

  22. What a useful post! Thanks so much for sharing!

  23. Very useful info… Best site ever…. Happy Blogging 🙂

  24. Ah I get it. This is a marvelous post, Just moved to the Gulf coast where mosquitos are thick. Thank you

  25. The Rose Alchemist says:

    Reblogged this on Conaffectionate Chocolate and commented:
    This is an awesome post by SunnySleevez on why mosquitoes are obsessed with us and what to do about it. I can’t believe I didn’t even know half of this – check it out!

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