In our last newsletter we discussed how yellowjackets have a knack for ruining backyard barbeques, so we would be remiss if we didn’t mention another party crasher - the mosquito.
Unlike yellowjackets, mosquitoes aren’t out looking for food to bring back to their young, they are looking for a meal for themselves, and that might just be you!
First and foremost, it is important to note that it isn’t the male mosquitoes that are ruining our fun (they feed on nectar and plant juices), it is the females. They need the protein from our blood to produce their eggs.
So, what attract mosquitoes to us? Mosquitoes are attracted to our breath! They can detect the carbon dioxide we exhale from as far as 164 feet away. In addition to carbon dioxide, mosquitoes can find us by smelling the lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia, and other substances expelled in our sweat. If that isn’t enough, mosquitoes tend to gravitate towards people with higher body temperatures.
And to all the beer aficionados out there, you may be an even bigger target of a mosquito’s affection. According to one study, mosquitoes were more apt to land on people that had consumed one serving of beer compared to those that hadn’t, leading to the conclusion that drinking alcohol makes you more attractive to mosquitoes.
Now that you know how and why mosquitoes are attracted to us, let’s look at how to avoid being their next meal.
Mosquitoes aren’t just a nuisance, they can transmit diseases such as West Nile virus, which is why it is important to choose a repellent that has been tested and proven to protect you from disease-carrying insects.
You can think of mosquito repellents as an invisible cloak. They affect a mosquito’s senses such as smell and taste to prevent them from finding us.
Here is a list of active ingredients you should look for when choosing a repellent:
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) – note: this is not the essential oil
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
Other ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes are to limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, and to wear long sleeves and long pants.
Lastly, if you are experiencing mosquitoes around your home, it means that there is standing water somewhere that is producing the mosquitoes. Without water, mosquitoes cannot go through their life cycle. If you cannot find any standing water, call our office for help.
To learn more about mosquito prevention around your home click here.