There’s No Hiding from Mosquitoes
Think you can hide from mosquitoes? Think again. In a mosquito’s world, your body acts much like a target’s infrared homing device, using one of the 400 hormones and chemicals in your body — as well as your sweat — against you. Your scent teases these ectoparasites, beckoning and enticing them to come check you out for a meal.
Only Females Bite
Of course, only the female mosquitoes are known for ravishing blood of unsuspecting victims: the male mosquitoes are happily content to snack on nectars and fruits. The females need the proteins and lipids present in the blood of humans and animals to provide nourishment for their eggs. Therefore, females are the culprit for mosquito-borne illness transmission, such as Zika, malaria, West Nile virus, dog heartworm and other illnesses and diseases.
Mosquitoes’ Attraction to Us
For years, has been widely understood that the carbon dioxide in our breath attracts mosquitoes like moths to a flame. Every time we exhale, we release carbon dioxide into the air; mosquitoes can smell it from over 30 feet away. The frequency of our exhalation and the amount of carbon dioxide we emit depends on the individual, our activity level and our chemical makeup.
Additionally, your grandmother was right: some blood is just a bit sweeter to mosquitoes than others. Studies have shown that mosquitoes are attracted to Type O blood, as opposed to Types A and B. In fact, it has been shown that mosquitoes are least attracted to Type A blood, which makes up about 35.7% of the population. Type O blood is known as the universal blood type and makes up 37.4% of individuals worldwide.
Other characteristics that make you irresistible to mosquitoes include the amount of lactic acid in your sweat and whether or not you’re enjoying an alcoholic beverage on a pleasant summer’s night. Metabolic rates also affect your attraction to mosquitoes: the higher your metabolic rate, the more likely you are to attract a mosquito’s unwanted attention. Pregnant women often have a higher metabolic rate, which makes them especially vulnerable to mosquito bites — a frightening fact, particularly with the instances of Zika on the rise. Dark clothing also attracts mosquitoes. So, when heading out for an evening walk, opt for lighter-colored clothing.
Olfactory Sensor Identification
Scientists are working on ways to genetically alter these olfactory superpowers in mosquitoes by identifying and blocking the receptor that mosquitoes use to home in on our bodies. These magic receptors, called Ir8a, are located within the mosquitoes’ antennae. Studies are currently being held to disrupt this receptor, according to scientists at Florida International University in Miami, in attempts to make humans less luscious to mosquitoes.
The Significance of this Study
The study is being performed to help reduce the amounts of mosquito-borne illnesses around the world. This includes malaria, which has been the culprit of about half of deaths in human history. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were about 212 million malaria cases in 2015 that resulted in 429,000 deaths.
The outcome of the study may nudge scientists a little bit closer to create a “perfume” or another substance that may confuse mosquitoes, leading them astray and away from humans. This “perfume” would act as a repellant, overstimulating the identified receptor in the mosquito’s antennae and ultimately deterring these flying pests.
In the meantime, however, MosquitoNix has superior misting products and fogging treatments that will help keep the mosquitoes in your yard at bay. Our team of trained and licensed employees and state-of-the-art products and service are designed to help you make Mosquitoes a Thing of the Past.™ We protect your outdoor lifestyle with both installed and portable mosquito-repellant products. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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You may test negative for COVID-19, but don’t overlook the possibility of West Nile Virus, for which there is a higher risk in northern Texas this 2020 season.