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Mosquito season is April through October here in the Northern Hemisphere. Of the 3000 species of mosquitoes in the world, 200 of them are found in the United States, and I’m convinced I’ve met at least half of them. You see, I fall into the statistic of being the one in five people that mosquitoes find especially appetizing.
When I was a little girl, my mother used to tell me mosquitoes were attracted to people who ate sugar. I believe she came to this decision since my siblings were all diabetic and obtained relatively few mosquito bites. I always doubted this as a reason, however, since I really never consumed sugar.
When I began my studies in the health field, I found out the real reason I was so appetizing, and it made perfect sense.
Are you one of those people mosquitoes seem to prefer? Here’s why you might be, and how to deter them from favoring you so much.
Why Mosquitoes Prefer Certain People
Above all other reasons, mosquitoes seem to prefer people with type O blood. Every time someone tells me they are one of those people mosquitoes are highly attracted to, I ask them their blood type. If they know their blood type, they tell me it’s type O. This fits the evidence.
There are many studies out there supporting this, but I found this article to be the easiest to understand for those without a health related background.
Mosquitoes are also attracted to individuals who give off higher amounts of carbon dioxide. Who are these individuals? They are pregnant women and those who are larger or overweight.
They appear also to be attracted to sweat that has had time to grow bacteria. If you’ve worked out (or just worked all day) and you haven’t had a chance to get washed up yet, you’re a prime target for a mosquito feast.
How To Deter Mosquitoes From Biting You
You can’t change your blood type, but from the other examples above, it looks like loosing weight, delivering a baby, and making sure you are clean are the other obvious preventions. There are, however, some smaller things you can do to decrease your chance of getting bit, even if you don’t fall into any of the categories mentioned earlier.
Using a combination of the following approaches will yield the best results.
Change Your Environment
Since mosquitoes breed in standing water, always make sure to drain all standing water around your home. Not giving mosquitoes an area to breed close to you makes them seek other areas.
Also try planting marigolds on your homestead near areas where your family tends to be. This discourages mosquitoes from hanging out much the same way citronella does.
Change Your Diet
It is said that people who eat large amounts of garlic tend to keep the mosquitoes at bay, but there are two other dietary changes currently being studied with favorable results as well.
Researchers are currently looking into a link between mosquitoes and bananas. They believe that there is something about how bananas are metabolized that actually attracts mosquitoes. Avoid eating bananas, and thus metabolizing them, and you can possibly avoid attracting these pests.
Another study being performed that I found encouraging suggests that individuals with a high intake of B1/Thiamine tend to fend off more mosquitoes as well. B1 taken in excess to what your body normally needs is excreted through skin, sweat, and urine. When excreted this way, it produces an odor particularly offensive to these pests.
Of note, I was unable to find any study that was conclusive (either for or against) any of these dietary modifications. Do your own research before trying to modify your diet.
Dress For The Occasion
If you find yourself going into areas where mosquitoes will be, or you just can’t encourage mosquitoes to stay away, remember to dress for the occasion.
Mosquitoes appear to be attracted more to darker colors, so wear lighter colors when possible. Make sure your clothing is loose, and covers as much skin as possible. Mosquito hats are also a good barrier.
If desired, mosquito clips, bracelets, and spray are also widely available. Remember to do your research when picking one of these out, as many contain DEET (which is known to melt some plastics). Whenever using spray, it should be applied to your clothing, not skin. Always read instructions carefully.
Don’t want to be anywhere around DEET? Clips, bracelets, and spray are available without, but can be hard to find, and expensive when found. Try your luck with lemongrass oil, peppermint oil, or (my personal favorite) bug block bars.
Feed Them To Beneficial Animals
Both bats and dragonflies feast on mosquitoes. If you simply can’t get rid of them, consider attracting dragonflies to their area, or construct bat houses to keep the population to a minimum.
One in five people are especially appetizing to mosquitoes, and can be attractive to these pests from 50 yards away. If this is you, try these tips to get rid of them and protect yourself.