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Can Mosquitoes Smell Blood?

a mosquito on a pair of jeans

Being a homeowner is overwhelming. There are so many details to keep up with—both inside and outside of your house. After a long day of household chores, the last thing you want is to deal with pesky mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are both annoying and dangerous. You deserve time to enjoy outdoor relaxation without the threat of itchy bites. Even worse, you do not want to expose yourself or your family to diseases like Zika or the West Nile Virus.

Mosquitoes are a common problem for homeowners across the United States. Are you a homeowner who has been dealing with a mosquito problem in your yard? You may be wondering what is attracting these pests to your home and to your skin.

It’s common to hear that mosquitoes can smell the “sweetness” of human blood, but is this idea actually true? In reality, mosquitoes zero in on the smell of your sweat, not your blood.

It is worth noting, though, that certain genetic factors, including your blood type, may make you more attractive to mosquitoes.

Keep reading to learn all about why mosquitoes bite humans, whether mothballs actually repel mosquitoes and if mosquitoes are attracted to sweat.

Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Humans?

Only female mosquitoes bite human beings. Female mosquitoes seek out human or animal blood after they mate with males. Shortly after biting you, a female mosquito will lay eggs, and the life cycle (and your pest problem) continues.

The belief that mosquitoes are attracted to people with “sweeter” blood is false. Mosquitoes are not more drawn to higher glucose levels in human blood. However, research suggests that different types of blood are more attractive to mosquitoes.

Why is this? Humans have four possible blood types that are passed down from our genetic ancestors: A, B, AB or O. Your blood type impacts what kind of proteins are in your red blood cells.

Studies have shown that mosquitoes often prefer biting O blood types. The results are more significant when compared with people with type A blood. Additionally, type A blood is more attractive to mosquitoes than type B.

In summary, your blood glucose does not affect the likelihood of mosquitoes biting you. Mosquitoes cannot smell your blood or its “sweetness,” but they are more likely to bite people with type O blood.

How to Discourage Mosquitoes from Biting You

About two-thirds of what attracts mosquitoes to particular people is due to genetics. Yet some lifestyle factors play a role. Alcohol consumption can make you more appealing to mosquitoes because it raises your temperature. Additionally, mosquitoes can more easily locate people in darker-colored clothing and it’s easier for them to bite exposed arms and legs.

Coming inside at dusk, wearing light colors or holding back on the booze may make a small difference in how often mosquitoes bite you in the backyard. But if you love kicking back with a beer on a warm Saturday night, there are many other actions you can take to keep mosquitoes away from you.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers mosquito repellents to be safe to use. Repellents that have DEET in them can be quite effective at keeping mosquitoes off your skin. Some say that essential oils may provide more natural protection from mosquito bites. Use lemon eucalyptus, citronella and thyme essential oils to keep mosquitoes at bay. However, there’s no scientific evidence that these smells keep mosquitoes away.

The Benefits of Professional Mosquito Control

You may not want to wear mosquito repellent every time you spend a few minutes in your backyard. If you are frustrated by your mosquito problem, it may be time to turn to experts in pest control. These professionals will know how to treat your home’s mosquito issue and get you feeling comfortable again quickly. Mosquito control experts can keep mosquitoes away from your deck and restore your peace of mind.

There is only so much you can do as a homeowner to keep mosquitoes away. If you have tried everything, you should contact a pest control professional as soon as you can. The longer you fight mosquitoes on your own, the more the mosquitoes in your yard will keep reproducing.

a group of mosquitoes flying in a backyard

Do Mothballs Repel Mosquitoes?

Some homeowners place mothballs in their lawns to prevent mosquitoes, but is this type of home remedy actually safe and effective?

Mothballs were a popular form of pest control for homeowners in the United States for generations. The fumes mothball release is meant to kill moths, not mosquitoes. Some homeowners swear by the effectiveness of mothballs for preventing mosquito bites.

There is no scientific evidence to support this conclusion, yet research is clear that mothballs are harmful to humans. When used indoors, mothballs release toxic chemicals into the air. Mothballs can be especially dangerous if kids or pets accidentally consume them.

Placing mothballs in your yard to prevent mosquitoes is not an effective solution. Mothballs may contaminate the water and soil surrounding your home. This practice may even be illegal in your area, as it can be dangerous for some wild animals and for the environment.

Do not use unproven methods like mothballs for mosquito control. The best way to get rid of mosquitoes is to use a professional pest control service.

Other Home Remedies for Mosquito Control

You can make your backyard less appealing to mosquitoes. Mosquitoes need standing water to complete the reproductive cycle. Look for places in your yard where female mosquitoes may lay eggs. Some areas to focus on include gutters, ditches, tarps, pots and gardens.

Of course, you may not be able to clean or get rid of certain areas where water collects. It is crucial that you speak with a mosquito control professional. They can help locate trouble spots and put in place effective solutions to your pest problem.

a mosquito biting a sweaty person

Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Sweat?

Mosquitoes smell sweat, not blood. The bacteria on each person’s skin emits specific odors, and everyone’s body chemistry is different. That is why some mosquitoes bite some people more than others.

Mosquitoes detect extra carbon dioxide that your body emits in the air, which brings them in closer. If you are overweight or pregnant, you release more carbon dioxide, making you more likely to be attacked by mosquitoes. Scientists are still trying to understand how mosquitoes smell carbon dioxide.

As mosquitoes draw nearer to human skin, they pick up on your distinct smell and your body heat. Mosquitoes have antennae with receptors that allow them to smell the lactic acid in your sweat. People who are exercising are more at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes due to elevated body heat and body odor from sweat.

When mosquitoes land on your skin, they use receptors in your legs to “taste” you. Then female mosquitoes suck your blood through long “needles,” nourishing the eggs she will soon lay.

Controlling Mosquitoes on Your Property

Mosquitoes are attracted to odors that come from human bodies as well as your body heat and the carbon dioxide in your breath. For this reason, they cannot be eliminated from your property 100 percent. Still, professional intervention can reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home.

During a home visit, a mosquito control professional will locate areas in your yard that attract mosquitoes. These problematic areas may include spots where female mosquitoes lay their eggs. Often pest control experts will remedy your mosquito issue with mosquito dunks in surface water sources. They may also use targeted misting stations to discourage mosquitoes from hanging around your home.

It is important to deal with a mosquito problem as soon as possible. You can help keep your family safe from diseases spread by mosquitoes, like Zika or West Nile Virus. Mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals when you consider how many humans they kill each year. One bite alone can make you or your family members sick.

Look for a mosquito control provider that can respond quickly to your request for help. You do not have to deal with this problem alone.

Suggestions for Mosquito Control

Hopefully, you have learned more about the habits of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors. They cannot smell blood, but they bother people with type O blood more than other blood types. These insects gather around the carbon dioxide that comes from your body. With receptors on their antennae, mosquitoes smell the bacteria that live on your skin when you get warm or sweat. Homeowners who exercise outside, are pregnant, are overweight or drink may notice that mosquitoes bite them often.

Wearing mosquito repellent and light-colored long clothing deters mosquitoes. Avoiding your yard when the sun is rising or setting can help keep you safe. Dealing with standing water is another important step in controlling these pests. You should inspect your yard for areas where surface water collects.

The best way to protect your family from the diseases mosquitoes spread is to ask for help from a mosquito control expert. Homeowners deserve quality solutions to put an end to mosquito bites.

ABC Can Treat the Mosquitoes on Your Property

For a multi-tiered approach to mosquito control, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. We have options to control adult mosquitoes and prevent the next generation of mosquitoes. This way, you and your family members will be comfortable at home.

Les Stobart

Les joined ABC in 2008 as the Director of Marketing, overseeing marketing, advertising, and communications for ABC’s branches. Les started the Lean Line, Online Chat departments, and manages corporate recruiting. He has a Bachelor of Science in Communications & Advertising from Lamart University. He has been part of the Texas Banking Association, a Financial Literacy Volunteer Teacher, ABC Kite Fest Board of Directors, a Town & Country Youth Soccer Coach, and a Neighborhood Sports flag football coach.

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