mosquitoes: attractants/repellents



Mosquitoes have complex methods of detecting hosts and different types of mosquitoes react to different stimuli. Most mosquitoes are active at dawn and dusk, but there are also mosquitoes that seek hosts during the day. You can avoid being bitten by making sure you aren't attracting mosquitoes, using attractants to lure mosquitoes elsewhere, using a repellent, and avoiding actions that diminish the effectiveness of the repellent.

Mosquito Attractants

Dark Clothing
Many mosquitoes use vision to locate hosts from a distance. Dark clothes and foliage are initial attractants.

Carbon Dioxide
You give off more carbon dioxide when you are hot or have been exercising. A burning candle or other fire is another source of carbon dioxide.

Lactic Acid
You release more lactic acid when you have been exercising or after eating certain foods (e.g., salty foods, high-potassium foods).

Floral or Fruity Fragrances
In addition to perfumes, hair products, and scented sunscreens, watch for the subtle floral fragrance from fabric softeners and dryer sheets.

Skin Temperature
The exact temperature depends on the type of mosquito. Many mosquitoes are attracted to the slightly cooler temperatures of the extremities.

Moisture
Mosquitoes are attracted by perspiration because of the chemicals it contains and also because it increases the humidity around your body. Even small amounts of water (e.g., moist plants or mud puddles) will draw mosquitoes. Standing water also allows mosquitoes to reproduce.

Natural Repellents
It's very easy to make your own natural mosquito repellent. These natural products will effectively repel mosquitoes, but they require more frequent reapplication (at least every 2 hours) and higher concentrations than DEET. Because of the differences between types of mosquitoes, products that contain multiple repellents tend to be more effective than those containing a single ingredient. As you can see, natural repellents tend to be volatile plant oils.

Citronella Oil
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Cinnamon Oil
Castor Oil
Rosemary Oil
Lemongrass Oil
Cedar Oil
Peppermint Oil
Clove Oil
Geranium Oil
Possibly Oils from Verbena, Pennyroyal, Lavender, Pine, Cajeput, Basil, Thyme, Allspice, Soybean, and Garlic
Another plant-derived substance, pyrethrum, is an insecticide. Pyrethrum comes from the flowers of the daisy Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium.

Things that Lower Repellent Effectiveness

Many Sunscreens
Dilution from Rain, Perspiration, or Swimming
Absorption into the Skin
Evaporation from Wind or High Temperatures
Keep in mind that 'natural' does not automatically imply 'safe'. Many people are sensitive to plant oils. Some natural insect repellents are actually toxic. Therefore, although natural repellents provide an alternative to synthetic chemicals, please remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions when using these products.

4 comments:

I am Stan said...

H i some people swear by eating marmite for a few days before going any where mozzies are a pest...

HM.harrisonmurray said...

I would but its hard to find in the States

I am Stan said...

Its hard to eat as well....bloody stuffs disgusting...you either love it or hate it..

Le Loup said...

Stan, I had forgotten all about Marmite. Not sure if one can get it here either.
When I was younger and living in the Territory, I found that a large bottle of rum and a camp fire of buffalo dung worked quite well. I am not so sure it stopped the mozzies, but after half a bottle I did not care.
Le Loup.
http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com

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