News reports of mosquito-borne viruses are nothing new. The U.S. is not exempt from the threat of malaria, dengue, West Nile, chikungunya, and yellow fever. But there is a new virus hitting our shores that has many fearful, and rightfully so.
If you have not heard of Zika virus, it is a mosquito-borne illness that causes microcephaly in unborn children at all stages of pregnancy. Microcephaly is a birth defect that is characterized by small head size and brain damage. So, while other mosquito-spread diseases may kill you, this is a virus that could have you and your family suffering for years. That is why it is important to understand what attracts mosquitoes.
All humans are not created equal to mosquitoes. Here are some ways you could be more attractive.
Mosquitoes are drawn to CO2. These creatures live on the blood found in warm-blooded creatures, and all warm-blooded creatures expel CO2 when they breathe. While you can't avoid breathing, knowing that a large group of people outside can attract more mosquitoes could save you from being bitten.
Mosquitoes can detect heat. This is also tied to the fact that warm-blooded animals contain the blood mosquitoes need to breed and live. It is important to note that strenuous activity outside during the morning or evening when mosquitoes are more active will increase your chances of being bitten.
Mosquitoes are attracted to sweaty people. This is an insect that loves moisture. If you are sweatier than the person next to you, you are more of a target.
Mosquitoes are drawn to dark shapes. These insects have horrible eyesight. For this reason, they will often fly close to the ground and use dark shapes against the horizon to zero in on their victims. If you have light clothing on, you won't be an easy target.
Mosquitoes are drawn to alcohol. A study in Japan found that those who had consumed alcohol were more attractive to mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are attracted to certain chemicals we breathe out. If you've noticed that you are always eaten alive at outside gatherings, it may be that you exhale chemicals that mosquitoes are drawn too. There isn't much you can do about this except avoid being out when mosquitoes are active.
If you are pregnant or considering being so, take note of what may make you more attractive to mosquitoes. Women in later stages of pregnancy will exert themselves more, have a higher body temperature, and sweat more. This makes them more attractive to mosquitoes, and more susceptible to contracting Zika.
If you plan to spend any time in your backyard, please consider getting mosquito control services for your yard from a trusted pest control expert like Parkway Pest Services. Fewer mosquitoes breeding and hiding on your property means fewer bites. And, fewer bites mean less chance of being exposed to Zika and other mosquito-borne viruses.