St Louis Pest Control Blog

Do Mosquitoes Have a Preference?

Do Mosquitoes Have “Personal” Preferences?

Mosquito

Summertime is a time of pool parties, backyard barbecues, lazy picnics and mosquito problems. Mosquitoes seem to enjoy outdoor gatherings almost as much as the people they dine on. They sometimes seem to have a “personal” preference; some meals are more attractive than others. What is it that causes mosquitoes to plague one party-goer while ignoring his buddy? This is a question many scientists are trying to answer. If they can answer this question, they can draw closer to discovering the most effective means of pest control.With over 3,000 known species of mosquitoes in the world, and a conjecture of many more to find, mosquito problems account for the death of more people, as many as a million people a year, than problems with any other group of life form on Earth. The bite of this small creature does more than just annoy; it may transmit a host of diseases, such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue, and West Nile Virus, to name a few. So, it’s no surprise researchers funded by such groups as the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are trying to uncover the secret to why mosquitoes are more drawn to certain individuals than others.While there is still much research to conduct, scientists have uncovered some trends as to why mosquitoes favor one person over another. Niels Verhulst, a Netherlands-based entomologist, has found a relationship between HLA, Human leukocyte antigen, genes and increased mosquito problems. HLA genes are those which regulate human body odor. Dr. Verhulst found that people with a smaller variety but greater amount of bacteria microbes, which cause odor, were the ones who attracted mosquitoes the most. His theory is the more different types of bacteria are present, the more individual odors are suppressed. Fewer bacteria mean more potent smells.

Which body odors most allure mosquitoes? Not considered a body odor, carbon dioxide is the first scent which alerts female mosquitoes to their buffet. Heat and movement are also key elements to signaling mealtime to mosquitoes. Once a mosquito smells the carbon dioxide and notices movement and heat, it zooms in for a closer look, or to be precise, closer smell. Now, it seems, is when personal body odor may cause mosquitoes to choose one person over another. Various studies, and folklore, have identified a variety of smells: steroids or cholesterol on skin surface, uric acid, lactic acid, “sweet” blood, garlic, spicy foods, certain vitamins, pregnancy, and beer. Another scientist, Dr. Leslie Vosshall, theorizes that mosquitoes taste us, too, through sensory receptors in their legs, before they choose to dine.

Although science still has much to discover concerning mosquitoes and their predilection, you do have pest control options. Blue Chip Exterminating, based out of Fenton, Missouri, is the place to call for help. They specialize in both residential and commercial pest control, whether you are fighting termites, bedbugs, unwanted and destructive wildlife, or mosquito problems. You do not need to spend your summer indoors; call the pest control specialists and regain control of your summer.

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