What Attracts Mosquitoes to Humans and Are They Dangerous?
Mosquitoes have been called the deadliest creatures on Earth. They may be tiny, but they’re much more than a nuisance.
That’s why it’s important to understand what attracts mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they carry. While the risk can’t be avoided entirely, it helps to know how to keep mosquitoes away in the first place.
Read on for our guide on what attracts mosquitoes and the potential dangers they can cause.
A Dangerous Pest
Mosquitoes carry more risks than those painful, itchy bumps they leave behind.
In fact, they are carriers of disease-causing agents that can infect us with a single bite. They inject saliva that transfers these agents into our bloodstream, which can quickly lead to a life-threatening illness.
Some of the most common mosquito-borne diseases include the West Nile virus, malaria, dengue, and the Zika virus. While it’s impossible to avoid the risk entirely, it helps to know what attracts mosquitoes in order to avoid becoming a meal. Below we list a few general statistics regarding these diseases.
- West Nile – This is the most common of all of the mosquito-borne diseases. In 2018 there were approximately 2,647 reported cases with 167 deaths. In 2019, 917 cases were reported in the US.
- Malaria – In 2016, there were 2,078 cases reported in the US. In 2018 there were approximately 228 million cases reported around the world with 405,000 deaths.
- Dengue – Dengue is the third most common mosquito-borne disease. It follows the West Nile virus and malaria. In 2019 there were 1,203 cases reported in the US with 68 from New Jersey. All travel related.
- Zika virus – Between January 2015 and December 2017, there were over one thousand reported cases in New York. All were travel related. During this same period of time, Texas and Florida were the only other states to report the Zika virus. They were all presumed to be acquired through local mosquito-borne transmission. In 2018 and 2019, there were no confirmed cases in the US.
What Attracts Mosquitoes
Have you ever been outside with a group of friends, only to notice that one of you seems to be a prime target for pesky mosquitoes?
If you have noticed that mosquitoes seem to prefer certain blood above the rest, you’re not far off. Science hasn’t pinpointed the exact causes, but some people attract mosquitoes more than others.
A lot of this has to do with our natural scent, which comes from a variety of internal and external chemical reactions within our bodies. While some of this can’t be helped, certain activities can leave you more susceptible.
Here are a few examples of what attracts mosquitoes:
- Individuals with higher body heat, such as joggers, those with naturally higher body temperature, pregnant women, and overweight people
- Those with a certain blood type (most often type O)
- People who are sweating (moisture is what attracts mosquitoes)
- Those who have recently been drinking alcohol
- Individuals who produce higher concentrations of acid, such as uric acid and lactic acid
- People wearing dark clothing also attracts mosquitos, especially the Asian Tiger Mosquito, the vector of the Zika virus
Mosquitos are also attracted to the CO2 from our breath. This is why larger gatherings will tend to attract more mosquitoes looking to feed.
How to Keep Mosquitoes Away
If you’re wondering how to keep mosquitoes away from your home in the first place, you should start by eliminating potential breeding grounds.
Mosquitoes like to breed in standing water, which can occur in and around your home more than you would think. Most mosquitoes will only require a small amount of water in order to breed.
For example, if you have items lying around that can contain liquid, such as cans, buckets, toys, and playground sets, these can easily collect rainwater and become a mosquito breeding ground. You should also avoid children’s wading pools and even birdbaths if you’re especially concerned.
One more thing to look for is clogged gutters around your house, and low areas that are prone to flooding. Depending on how much rain your area gets, this is what attracts mosquitos to breed around your home.
What about using EPA approved repellents?
- Picaridin (Avon Skin So Soft)
- IR3535 (Avon Skin So Soft)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (Murphy’s Mosquito Repellent Balm)
- Para-menthane-diol (synthetic lemon eucalyptus oil)
What product is the best for you? https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/insect-repellent/buying-guide/index.htm
Get Rid of Mosquitoes Now
Mosquitoes are dangerous pests that should be avoided at all costs. Now that you know a little more about what attracts mosquitoes, you’ll be one step closer to preventing the mosquito bites that could cause disease.
If you’re in the New Jersey area, contact us today to learn more about how we can help defend your family against mosquitoes.