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How Mosquitoes Detect Humans

mosquito biting rhode island resident

We all know the people to whom mosquitoes are attracted. They walk away from campfires, hikes, and outdoor adventures with welts, itching pain, and more bites than the rest of us. Perhaps you are that person. No matter who you are mosquitoes are attracted to you because you are a human, but they prefer some blood over others. How do they do that? Here is a quick glimpse at how mosquitoes detect humans.

Mosquitoes Don’t Use Eyesight

Female mosquitoes are the only ones that bite to feed on your blood because they require the protein to nourish their eggs.

Mosquitoes are great at targeting a food source. Usually, that source is you and your blood. You would think that mosquitoes have excellent eyesight to spot you under the sun or in the middle of the night, but they don’t. Mosquitoes actually have terrible eyesight. Mosquitoes rely on two features to find us: our silhouettes and the smell of our blood.

According to the National Institutes of Health, mosquitoes have a special receptor on them that helps them detect skin odor and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is what our mouths release into the air when we breathe out. However, even if you aren’t expelling an abundance of carbon dioxide, mosquitoes use the receptor to detect odor from the skin. As they approach, mosquitoes use their vision to spot their host using thermal sensory techniques that identify body heat.

A Japanese study found that mosquitoes may be even more attracted to those with type O blood.

With all these techniques at their disposal, mosquitoes can create a map directly to you so they can get started feeding.

Myths About Repelling Mosquitoes

Guess what, the DIY solutions you hear about to prevent mosquitoes do little to actually keep them at bay. Here are a few myths online about preventing mosquitoes:

  • Citronella and natural ingredients prevent mosquitoes: lemongrass and citronella do little to deter and prevent mosquitoes, and by that we mean they don’t work at all.
  • Garlic and beer keeps mosquitoes at bay: In fact, beer and garlic can make you smell even worse, and mosquitoes are attracted to the smell on your skin.

Real Ways to Repel Mosquitoes

If you want to repel mosquitoes, you will need bug spray, long clothing, and professional services. Apply bug repellent to dry skin, and cover up with pants and long sleeves to keep mosquitoes from biting. To protect your yard so you can enjoy time outdoors, call Big Blue Bug Solutions.