Ah, summertime, time for backyard parties, swimming, fishing, camping, hiking and all the joys that warm weather, family, and friends bring. Unfortunately, with summer also comes the all too familiar battle of man against the mosquito. Depending on where you live mosquitoes can be anything from an occasional nuisance to a full-blown enemy you have declared war upon. The good news is, there are a number of safe and natural ways to keep these pesky critters away from your home and garden, and more importantly, off your skin.
Mosquitoes Carry Disease
Unfortunately, annoying buzzing and itchy bites are not the only things that make mosquitoes an unwelcome visitor. The more than 3,000 mosquito species are responsible for transporting some of humanity’s greatest diseases. Malaria is carried by the Anopheles mosquito and is reported to infect between 300 and 500 million people yearly, causing over 600,000 deaths. The Culex mosquito carries the West Nile virus, filariasis, and encephalitis. The Aedes mosquito carries yellow fever, dengue, and encephalitis.
These bloodthirsty annoyances are not just a problem in third world countries. The first case of West Nile virus in America was reported in New York City in 1999. Since this time, over 2000 people have died from the virus.
Viruses aside, mosquito bites hurt – some worse than others. A particular type of mosquito found in Florida, the Gallinipper, is the size of a quarter and can deliver a really nasty bite.
3 Factors That Make You More Attractive To Mosquitoes
Believe it or not, mosquitoes tend to be picky about their victims. Apparently, not everyone is equally tasty. Inone study it was found that mosquitoes land on people who have type O blood twice as often as they landed on people with Type A blood.
Mosquitoes locate their target by smelling carbon dioxide that is released when we breathe. Not surprisingly, people who exhale more carbon dioxide, larger people, in general, get bitten more often than smaller people.
Mosquitoes also smell for lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other bodily substances to find their victims. When you exercise, lactic acid builds up and this can make you quite attractive to mosquitoes. In addition, genetic factors can influence the amount of uric acid and other substances we emit making some people tastier than others to mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes also like certain skin bacteria better than others. A study conducted in 2001 found that people with a higher abundance, but lower diversity of bacteria on the skin were more appetizing to mosquitoes. This is especially true, says, scientists, if the bacteria is focused on a particular area. The ankles are a great example because there are naturally more bacteria colonizing here than on other parts of the skin. How many times have you been bitten on your ankles by a mosquito?
Drinking Beer & Mosquitoes
Have you ever wondered why mosquitoes love backyard barbeques as much as you? If you drink just one 12 ounce beer you become like an instant mosquito magnet. Although researchers are not quite sure why people who drink beer become desirable to mosquitoes, they still seem to show up whenever a glass is poured.