Don't get eaten alive: 5 offbeat ways to avoid becoming a mosquito delicacy
Are you more prone to mosquito bites than others? Let someone else do the itch-and-scratch routine. Here's how not to become a mosquito magnet.
Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Photo: JJ Harrison/Wiki Commons
Do you find yourself unusually plagued by mosquito bites? Do mosquitoes seem to banquet on you like you're a gourmet feast? There are few things that break up the summer fun like that incessant buzzing across the ear, and the subsequent impulse to swat at every suspicious tickle on the skin. It's enough to drive a person insane — or at least inside the house.
You may find yourself asking: Why me?
Well, the folks over at the Smithsonian might have an answer for you. They have put together a comprehensive rundown of all the latest science on what most whets a mosquito's appetite. Mosquitoes, it turns out, can be a picky lot. The good news is, that means there are also things you can do to make yourself a little less delectable. With the Smithsonian list in mind, here's our take on how you can avoid becoming the mosquito equivalent of a fine wine.
Don't drink beer
Sitting around the campfire without a beer in hand might sound like sacrilege, but at least one study has shown that drinking even a single can of beer can make you more attractive to mosquitoes. Perhaps they get an added kick from your elevated blood alcohol level too. So if you want to avoid getting buzzed — in more ways than one — then stay away from the booze.
Watch your weight
One of the better known mosquito attractants is carbon dioxide. Mosquitoes zero in on their prey by following the emissions from a person's breath. Since holding your breath isn't really an option, one way of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide you exhale is to watch your weight. Heavier people tend to exhale at greater volumes than lighter people.
Don't exercise outdoors
This one might seem like a lose-lose proposition given the previous list item, but exercise can also attract mosquitoes. So if you're looking to shed some pounds with the intent of reducing your mosquito risk, you might want to consider doing your jogging at the indoor gym. Not only do people exhale more carbon dioxide when they're working out, but studies have also shown that mosquitoes are particularly enticed by the smell of sweat. They can also zero in easier on people emitting a higher body temperature.
Don't wear red
This one is perhaps the easiest thing you can do to reduce your mosquito risk: don't wear red or black. Mosquitoes utilize all of their senses when hunting for prey, including their bloodthirsty little eyes. By wearing colors that stand out, such as red or black, you may increase your risk of being feasted upon.
Take special care if you're pregnant
You're already eating for two; the last thing you need is an armada of parasitic insects suckling on your skin. But it turns out that being pregnant is also a risk factor for mosquito bites. In other words, if you're pregnant you might want to consider avoiding the outdoors during times when mosquitoes are most active, such as at dawn or dusk.
Related files on MNN: