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When the mosquito wars begin, anything can look like a weapon to itchy outdoor enthusiasts. But experts say many home remedies are mostly sizzle and little substance. Summertime calls most of us to spehonend time outdoors, but this means we must share our space with mosquitoes. Scientists say that about one in five people are especially appetizing targets for the little bloodsuckers… are you one of them? Of the 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world, roughly 200 can be found in the US, which all differ in their persistence, biting habits, and ability to transmit disease.
Mosquitoes Plan Their Attack from Behind the 50-Yard-Line
Mosquitoes are attracted to a number of chemical compounds that they can detect from an impressive 50 yards away. The males are not interested in your blood, but the females are a different story, thirsting after the protein and iron in your blood to produce their eggs.
At this point in our scientific knowledge base, we know that mosquitoes are attracted to the following:
- Bacteria: One trillion microbes live on your skin and create your body odor. Humans have only about 10 percent of these microbes in commonthe rest vary between individuals. Some of us have a collection of microbes that are particularly irresistible to mosquitoes.
- Chemical compounds: When they are sniffing us out, mosquitoes home in on a wide variety of chemicals277 were isolated as potential mosquito attractants from human hand odors in one 2000 study.
Mosquitoes Like OLD Sweat, Not Fresh Sweat
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Worldwide, mosquito-borne diseases kill more people than any other single factor. Mosquitoes can be carriers of malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever in humans. In the United States, mosquitoes spread several types of encephalitis.
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