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How Do Mosquitoes Detect People?

As the temperature begins to rise, so does the number of mosquitoes. The warm weather makes mosquitoes pass through their life cycle quicker, leading to more eggs hatching. Not only are mosquito bites itchy and annoying, but there is also a chance that mosquitoes could carry some sort of mosquito-borne virus. This is why it’s best for you to take all of the precautions you possibly can! Here, Any Pest discusses how exactly mosquitoes detect people and ways to prevent bites to make sure you enjoy your warm weather to the fullest. 

How Do Mosquitoes Actually Detect People? 

Only female mosquitoes seek people because they feed off of protein for egg synthesis. Female mosquitoes have nerve cells called cpA neurons that have a receptor to detect carbon dioxide, which is exactly what we breathe out. They also use receptors and vision to detect things like body heat, perspiration, colors and skin odor. So mosquitos first detect the carbon dioxide, and then fly towards colors that seem most attractive to them. An easy visualization for us to understand this concept is to imagine walking down the street of a bread factory or coffee shop. You would instantly pick up the strong smells and without even realizing it, would be attracted to it. There are factors we simply can not control like our skin, smell or carbon dioxide. However, there are a few things you can do to prevent attracting mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are attracted to certain things:

Specific Colors

Research done by a professor at the University of Washington, Jeff Riffell, proves that mosquitoes are attracted to specific colors. These colors are red, orange, black and cyan. The red and orange colors are attractive to mosquitoes because of the signal of human skin, so if you wear a shirt that’s red, you are more of a target. “I used to say there are three major cues that attract mosquitoes: your breath, your sweat and the temperature of your skin, and in this study, we found the color red to be a fourth cue.” Riffell said. Red is found in everyone, regardless of the color of their skin. So, one easy way to prevent mosquito bites is to instead, wear colors that mosquitoes tend to ignore: blue, purple and green. 

Body Heat and Perspiration

As you’re outside in the heat of Georgia, mosquitoes can smell the lactic acid found in your sweat – even from a distance. They get their intense sense of smell from their chemical neuroreceptors. Essentially, the more you sweat, the more bites you’re likely to get. Peak mosquito times are early morning before the sun fully rises (dawn) and late evening (dusk). If possible, try to do outdoor activities between those times. Sun exposure can dehydrate and kill mosquitoes, so they typically are more active when the sun is not at its peak blaze. 

How Can You Prevent Mosquitoes Bites? 

  • Mosquito Traps – this is a great way to get rid of mosquitoes before it becomes a big issue. Once temperatures begin to drop, stock up on mosquito traps and insect repellent. It’s recommended to begin using traps before even seeing the first mosquito! It wouldn’t hurt to be over-prepared for this spring and upcoming summer. 
  • Screens – this tip is very useful because you can still enjoy the weather on your porch, but without the worries of bugs. Screened-in porches provide the best way for you to be outside and still have protection from rain or mosquitoes! Also, it would help to have a fan on. Mosquitoes are attracted to your carbon dioxide and sweat, so a fan would help minimize the attraction. 
  • Repellant – Another good option is different kinds of scents: peppermint and lavender. Crushed lavender flowers can repel mosquitoes by producing a strong lavender scent. Another benefit of lavender is it actually helps heal mosquito bites. Drop lavender oil from the crushed-up flowers to the itchy bites and it will help heal because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Peppermint – Mosquitoes, as well as other bugs like flies and spiders, hate peppermint. It’s a great plant to grow in your garden for this reason! It is also good to keep around the house in case bugs find their way in. Adding peppermint oil to a spray bottle and lightly spraying your counters can provide help in getting the insects out. 
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Overall, do your best to prevent getting mosquito bites with the tips we’ve provided (wearing certain colors and smells). We are always here to help with your pest control needs! As a homeowner or business owner, reducing or eliminating the presence of mosquitos will prevent some well-known mosquito-borne diseases. Any Pest has been successfully working on mosquito control since 1989, so we would be happy to help you! Contact Any Pest today to schedule mosquito control services today.