By Abbey Ryan
All winter long we wait impatiently for the weather to get warmer so we can resume regular outdoor activities. Winter ends and we’re delighted, pulling out our BBQs, splash pads, and outdoor running shoes—until we remember what the warm weather also brings… Mosquitoes.
Generally, mosquito activity will begin when the temperature reaches the 50° F level (1). The mere mentioning of the nasty insect brings back an onslaught of memories from last summer: itchy welts, allergic reactions, bug spray, and itch creams. They’re a great way to ruin summer, by why do they tend to bite some people more than others?
Why am I a mosquito magnet?
If you appear to adopt dozens of bug bites every time you step outdoors, consider the following list of reasons for why you may be attractive to the itchy bite:
1) You’re athletic (2). Yes, taking care of your health physically comes with its downfalls as well. Mosquitoes love Lactic Acid, which our bodies produce after exercise.
2) You need to shower (3). Sweat is one of the most attractive scents to mosquitoes, particularly to the breeds carrying diseases like malaria. The bacteria that makes your old sweat have an odor smells sweet to mosquitoes. So be sure to wash yourself often and not use too many sweet-smelling soaps or perfumes as they can attract mosquitoes too.
3) You’re pregnant (2). Pregnant women emit higher levels of CO2 which is attractive to mosquitoes.
4) You’ve been drinking (2). Alcohol tends to up your metabolism, which in turn boosts your CO2 output—which in turn attracts mosquitoes. Mosquitoes seem to have a preference though. They love beer.
5) You’re wearing dark or bright clothes (2). Softer or lighter colors that blend in with the light tend to disguise you from mosquitoes, while bright or darkly colored clothes interest them.
6) You have type O blood (2). Yes, the little blood suckers even have their favorite blood to suck. According to research, Type O is twice as attractive to mosquitoes then any other blood type. They are least attracted to type A (3).
How do I keep them away from me?
In order to repel mosquitoes, you want to make sure to avoid keeping things around that they like. Ridding your yard of stagnant water and keeping your grass properly trimmed are two obvious ways to maintain a non-mosquito-friendly space, but there’s more to it than this. Here are some things you can do to repel them:
1) Shower often. As discussed, mosquitoes love the scent of old sweat. Keep that odor down and you’ll lessen your mosquito bites.
2) Wear thicker, lighter clothes that their bites can’t pierce. While this sounds like torture during the hotter months, you’ll save yourself a lot of skin irritation and aggravation.
3) Use bug repellents. These can be found at the store, or you can mix your own by combining lemon, lemongrass, and eucalyptus oils. Mosquitoes rely heavily on their sense of smell, and utilizing smells they don’t like saves you from some itchy bumps.
4) Avoid going where mosquitoes are most likely to be —tall grasses, wind-less forests, stagnant water, etc. Mosquitoes like the warmth, damp, and stillness.
5) Eat garlic, onions, and chili peppers. These are well known foods that make your body less appetizing to mosquitoes (4).
Mosquitoes are attracted to specific things. Knowing what they like and eliminating those things can change you from a mosquito magnet to a mosquito repellent. Just don’t be afraid to take a lot of showers, be mindful of your surroundings and coat yourself in bug repellent. If you do fall victim to a few bites here and there, learn how to treat the problem as well!