Did You Know Sweat, Odor and Color Helps Mosquitoes Choose their Next Victim?
What are the factors that attract mosquitos in the first place?
Have you ever wondered why? or how? mosquitoes choose who their next victim will be? What is it that attracts them in the first place? There are actually a whole host of factors- no pun intended- in determining a mosquito’s next target and where they will ultimately land next.
Above all other reasons, mosquitoes are first attracted to the exhaled carbon dioxide that is emitted from humans and other animals. Mosquitoes can detect changes in CO2 levels in their surroundings, and an increase in carbon dioxide levels indicates a potential host is nearby. Mosquitoes can smell carbon dioxide from over 30 feet away.
Mosquitoes also use their sense receptors to pick up on other cues in their surroundings. In addition to olfactory, mosquitoes use visual and thermal cues to hone in on their potential victims. However, the smell is the primary precursor to any of these other senses. Wearing perfume or other scented products? Yet another potential olfactory attractor.
Body heat, body odor, and perspiration are also potential cues that can lure mosquitoes in your direction. Mosquitoes are attracted to certain compounds that are present on human skin and in sweat. These compounds give off a specific odor that can lure mosquitoes in.
Mosquitoes also like moisture as water is needed for the females to reproduce. It follows that mosquitoes are naturally attracted to areas with higher humidity levels. Mosquitoes not only like the scent of sweat, they like the dampness as well.
Certain colors attract mosquitoes. Mosquitoes seem to be more attracted to dark colors. They can see darker colors from a distance. Sorry Georgia Bulldogs, people wearing darker clothing like black, and red are therefore at a higher risk of being targeted by mosquitoes.
Once close enough, mosquitoes will begin to sense body heat. The higher the body temperature, the faster mosquitoes can find you. Once they finally land on you, they then can actually taste your skin. This is when they are ready to look for a place to bite.
Considering the different ways in which mosquitoes sense their environments and pursue their next meal can help us identify strategies to avoid irritating mosquito bites and lower the risk of contracting the dangerous illnesses they can cause.