Spending time outside during certain times of the year can put you in closer contact with a number of insects. You’ve noticed those days you’re outdoors and wearing perfume, you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes more often. Is it all in your head, or are the rumors true? Are mosquitoes attracted to perfume?
Unfortunately, these insects are more likely to sense your presence if they can smell you. Mosquitoes feed on nectar when they aren’t producing eggs, so when we put on that fragrance, it sends off even more signals for them to come to find us. However, it’s not just a flowery perfume that could be attracting them—mosquitoes can smell deodorant, cologne, scented lotions and even fragranced body wash with the olfactory receptors in their antennae. By switching to unscented products, you could provide yourself with some degree of protection from itchy mosquito bumps.
There are many other rumors that get spread about mosquitoes, including what else they are attracted to and how they feed on our blood. In this post, we will review everything you need to know about mosquitoes—including what makes you more susceptible to their bite.
Let’s start off with something easy.
Do Mosquitoes Bite Or Sting?
Unlike some other insects, mosquitoes don’t sting—they bite. Moreover, only female mosquitoes bite. When she lands on you, she will insert the tip of her mouth into a tiny blood vessel, inject her saliva into your bloodstream and then start sucking your blood. The good news is that it takes a mosquito a whole six seconds to complete this process so if you can catch her in the act before then, you be left with itchy red marks.
Female mosquitoes bite because they need blood to lay their eggs, which means that they only bite after they have finished mating. Therefore keeping your blood out of her body doesn’t just save you the pain of an itchy bite, it also prevents the mosquito from laying up to 100 eggs around your house and yard.
What do mosquitoes eat the rest of the time? They feed on the nectar from the flowers in your yard and garden.
Now you want to know how mosquitoes bite, you are probably wondering how to prevent being a victim. Will avoiding the outdoors at certain times of day protect you?
What Time of Day Are Mosquitoes Most Likely to Bite?
If you’re holding an outdoor event around lunchtime, you might not have to worry about too many mosquitoes, especially in the direct sunlight. But once the sun goes down, mosquitoes will begin to get more active.
Mosquitoes tend to search for blood around dawn and dusk, because the weather is typically more humid and less windy around these times of the day. If you can, plan your gatherings so that people are indoors as the sun goes down. Or, provide mosquito repellent to your guests or consider having your backyard treated before you have friends and family over.
Other than the time of day, there are additional factors in your control that can affect your chances of getting bitten.
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Certain People?
Do mosquitoes seem to be more attracted to you than to your spouse, kids or your friends? It may not just be your imagination. There are a few reasons why that might be the case.
You Smell Nice
How does a mosquito know where the good food is? The same way we do—they use their sense of smell to find their targets. Perfume, deodorants and other forms of fragrance are an easy sign that humans are nearby.
Mosquitoes are also attracted to something we can’t smell at all: carbon dioxide. This chemical compound is another “sign” that a human with delicious blood is nearby. These insects sense carbon dioxide from up to 100 feet away. Some studies suggest that adults attract mosquitoes more than humans since they exhale more because they are larger.
You’re Breaking A Sweat
Our sweat is composed mostly of water, but also contains lactic acid, and this is what gets us in trouble. A mosquito’s antennae can actually pick up on the smell of lactic acid and they will sniff their way to us.
We know this is a hard one—how do you prevent yourself from sweating when it’s warm in some places nearly all year? You could avoid playing sports or being extra active around dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are on the hunt. Also, if you have the choice to hang out next to the flag football team or the group of people chatting, you should go hang out with the chit-chatters.
You’ve Cracked Open A Cold One
Turns out we’re not the only ones who love the sound of a beer getting cracked open on a summer night. Mosquitoes are attracted to beer and soda, so drinking either of these carbonated beverages can make you a target. This may seem very odd, but the science behind it makes sense.
When you open a can of beer or soda, a burst of carbon dioxide gets released into the air and as additional bubbles pop open, more carbon dioxide gets released into the air. While this carbon dioxide can make a drink refreshing for us, it can create a scent trail that leads mosquitoes straight to us.
Another reason beer and other alcohol may put a target on your back is that when you drink alcohol your body’s basal temperature rises, causing you to sweat and release the lactic acid that mosquitoes use to find us.
You’re Wearing Dark Clothing
Another study has shown that the color of your clothes may make you more attractive to mosquitoes. These pesky critters really like black, dark blue and red clothing. So as much as you want to wear your favorite black shirt to the neighborhood pool party, it might be in your best interest to wear something else. But can mosquitoes bite through clothes in the first place? Well, that answer is complicated. Looser fit, lightweight clothing is the best bet, as it makes it harder for the proboscis of the mosquito to penetrate through your skin.
The good news? A lot of these factors are under your control. You can put down the beer and you can hold off on the perfume. Unfortunately, there are some factors that are absolutely out of your control, and these might be the things that really attract mosquitoes. One of these factors is your blood type.
Why Do Mosquitoes Like Type O Blood?
Unfortunately, scientists haven’t determined exactly why mosquitoes are attracted to Type O Blood. The good news is several studies are in progress that could give us more insight as to the role of blood type in mosquito preferences. Don’t hold your breath though, as there are approximately 400 different genetic factors that could be affecting how much mosquitoes like you.
The simplest (and currently best) explanation is that different blood types secrete different chemicals, as well as different amounts of chemicals. So, people with Type O Blood are sending off more signals to mosquitoes than others. As a matter of fact, one study revealed that mosquitoes were twice as likely to land on and bite people with Type O blood than Type A blood.
While dealing with these pests outside is enough of a nuisance, there is nothing quite like a mosquito infestation within your own home.
What Attracts Mosquitoes To Homes?
Your home feels like a safe haven from these annoying pests—until they find their way inside.
Now you need to know how to get rid of mosquitoes in the house and what’s drawing them indoors. To start off, you should know that mosquitoes can enter our homes based on the reasons we discussed above that they are attracted to humans, such as sensing carbon dioxide and lactic acid. But why else would mosquitoes have chosen to send their mail to your address?
Mosquitoes lay eggs in water. This fact immediately puts your pool at risk for attracting mosquitoes. Indoors, you might think you don’t have standing pools of water—until you take a close look around.
Do you have any vases filled with water to keep your flowers alive? What about bowls of water for your pets? Or a dripping faucet in your bathroom? These seemingly innocent sources of water could attract mosquitoes and little mosquito eggs. In addition, drain pipes, especially those that are not used often, can make a nice home for mosquitoes.
Outdoors, water collection systems and even damp piles of grass or leaves can attract mosquitoes. Take a look around these areas of your home and regularly refresh standing water to eliminate the chances of mosquito eggs hatching and entering your home.
High humidity can also attract mosquitoes. Moreover, running the AC isn’t just a way to keep cool during the hot summers—it can also repel mosquitoes by drawing out moisture.
Feeling a little better about those AC bills now?
You probably already know that certain lights can attract bugs like moths—but does the same principle apply for mosquitoes?
Short answer: yes.
Mosquitoes and other flying bugs are attracted to UV light and LED bulbs placed around the house. CFLs are also a big hit in the mosquito community. Having any of these light sources on your deck or around the pool is likely to bring the mosquitoes over, especially during the nighttime.
If you are placing lights near the entryways of your home, you are basically giving mosquitoes a path right into your house. Even the smallest openings can let bugs in. They are, after all, very small creatures.
Do a run-through of the doors and windows of your home. Do you have screens installed to keep mosquitoes and bugs out? Are these screens properly installed and free of holes?
If you have open spaces for bugs to get in, they will do so. Plain and simple.
If you’re ready to get rid of mosquitoes, whether it be inside your home, in your yard or both, it’s time to call in an expert.
ABC Can Keep Your House Mosquito-Free
Getting rid of mosquitoes requires more than just a simple fix. You need a comprehensive plan that will help prevent mosquitoes from making your property their next spot to mate and lay eggs. The experts at ABC Home & Commercial Services can help you develop a treatment plan that eliminates mosquitoes, flying bugs or any other pests that may be causing chaos on your property. This plan typically involves eliminating any pests that are currently living on your property and setting up a maintenance plan to keep them away. With ABC’s help, you won’t have to worry about whether you and your guests will be attacked when they spend time at your home.