Whether out in the woods, camping, hiking, or at home in the backyard, mosquitoes are not equal opportunity biters.
Some people seem to actually attract mosquitoes and are constantly bit while others not so much. Why is that?
Particularly with the health risks associated with a mosquito bite, it may help to know the following things that attract mosquitoes:
(UPDATED 2019 – latest insect repellent products)
It has been very wet! (in many parts of the country) and mosquitoes LOVE standing water (to breed prolifically). Mosquitoes this year are the worst I have ever seen them where I live!
WHAT THINGS ATTRACT MOSQUITOES?
Avoid these things:
1. Dark Colors
Wearing dark clothes will attract mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can see and use their vision to locate targets from a distance. Most of their day-to-day targets will be found in the shade or within foliage, so they are naturally attracted to dark colors. This means that they will be more attracted to people wearing dark clothing than people wearing light clothing. Ask me how I know this!
Tip: I’m not kidding, this is what I use, it’s better, safer than DEET in my opinion! Reviewed by Consumer Reports in its list of safe insect repellents, effective up 14 hours!
20% Picaridin Lotion
No smell! Not as ‘greasy’ as DEET spray:
20% Picaridin Spray
Fragrances are known to attract mosquitoes. Avoid perfume, cologne, perfumed shampoos, hand creams, soaps, fabric softeners, detergent, etc. Switch to as many unscented products as you can during the summer to avoid the mosquito bite.
Moving around will attract mosquitoes. They can see their victims from within 30 feet by locating the changes in waves of light around them, caused by moving objects.
Tip: Extremely effective for on clothing, will not stain or damage clothes, fabrics, plastics, finished surfaces, or outdoor gear, lasts up to 6 weeks (or 6 washings) :
Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Spray
Another tip! I spray Permethrin on my hat – really helps keep mosquitoes from biting my head area. I also spray my clothes if working outdoors while mosquitoes are biting.
Perspiring will attract mosquitoes because they need water to reproduce, and they are naturally attracted to areas with higher humidity levels. This includes people who are sweating. Perspiration will also dilute any mosquito repellents that you might have applied; making you more attractive to mosquitoes.
5. Carbon Dioxide
Your breathing! This is a big attractant – maybe the biggest. Your exhaled breath will attract mosquitoes big time. Mosquitoes are attracted by areas that are higher in carbon dioxide (living-breathing animals, humans). I’ve read that a mosquito can ‘see’ carbon dioxide from 200 yards away!
Tip: Natural insect repellent, effective up to 6 hours:
Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent
6. Body Heat
Mosquitoes have sophisticated heat sensors. They will be attracted to circulating blood in animals and humans – their heat. They follow body heat and exhaled gases and fly to their target!
7. Lactic Acid
It’s produced by our bodies after we exercise or after we eat certain types of food that are high in salt or potassium. Someone who is sitting outside eating pretzels and a banana will attract more mosquitoes than someone who is sitting outside eating watermelon.
Exercising causes your body to do three things that will make it attract mosquitoes. You are breathing harder, meaning you are exhaling more carbon dioxide; you are sweating, which increases the humidity around your body; and you are releasing more lactic acid. You might as well be wearing a neon sign asking all mosquitoes to bite you.
Yep, urine attracts mosquitoes. Take care of this business further away from your camp…
Tip: Keep mosquitoes out of water fountains, water troughs, bird baths, rain barrels, lasts up to 30 days:
What are your own experiences with what works or doesn’t work for mosquitoes?
Are you a mosquito magnet?