Everyone is attracted to a certain type of person. Apparently, mosquitoes are no different. Some people entice these pesky biters, while others are never bothered. And it’s not about good looks! In a 2015 study, British researchers discovered that mosquitoes are attracted to people based on their genetics and body odor. And as of June 2017, they have even used dirty socks to find out more.
If you’re a mosquito magnet, you know how annoying bites can be. They’re itchy and uncomfortable! Depending on the area, some mosquitoes might even carry disease. Examples include malaria, yellow fever, and West Nile virus. While this is rare in developed, non-tropical countries, getting bit is no fun.1
Why Some People Attract More Mosquitoes
It’s already known that female mosquitoes are attracted by body odor. These chemicals, or volatiles, are released by the human body. However, British researchers wanted to look at the genetic influence. In the 2015 study published in PLoS One, they compared mosquito attractiveness to identical versus non-identical twins.
Using twin pairs made it easy to measure the power of genetics. Researchers in the study found that twins had a higher association with mosquito attractiveness than non-identical twins. These findings suggest that mosquito desirability is hereditary.2 To learn more, the researchers are using dirty socks in current experiments and will placing socks in wind tunnels to determine mosquito attractiveness. The dirty socks will be from both identical and non-identical twins.
How To Repel Mosquitoes
In the meantime, learn how to naturally ward off mosquitoes. These remedies are a healthier alternative to DEET (n-diethyl-meta-toluamide), the active chemical in commercial bug repellents. It’s very harsh and has been known to cause skin irritation, burning, and redness. The severe odor might also bother people with breathing problems.3
1. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Can Help Repel Mosquitoes
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention list lemon eucalyptus oil as an effective mosquito repellent.4 It sounds like lemon plus eucalyptus oil, but lemon eucalyptus oil comes from a specific tree. This remedy has become a popular choice for repelling bugs.
2. Eucalyptus Oil Can Repel Mosquitoes
Eucalyptus oil is also as effective as lemon eucalyptus oil. This may be easier to find than the latter or you might already have it. The active compounds can kill larvae, too.5
3. Peppermint Oil Can Repel Mosquitoes
According to Parasitology Research, peppermint oil works just as well as DEET. You won’t even need to use a high concentration. The scent pairs well with eucalyptus, so feel free to mix the two.6
How To Use The Essential Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated. Before applying them on your skin, dilute them first. This will reduce the risk of irritation and redness. To make a mosquito repellent spray, dilute 5 drops of essential oil in 1 tablespoon witch hazel or water. Multiply these proportions until you can fill up a spray bottle.
Spray liberally to apply, but be careful around your eyes and mouth. You can also make a moisturizing repellent. Add 5 drops of essential oil to 1 tablespoon carrier oil, like grape seed or olive oil. Store in a roll-on perfume bottle or amber bottle with a dropper.
Hopefully, the current study will help us repel mosquitoes once and for all. Until then, try these repellents. You can’t change your genes, but you can protect yourself!
|↑1||Mosquitoes. Department of Entomology, Penn State.|
|↑2||Fernández-Grandon, G. Mandela, Salvador A. Gezan, John AL Armour, John A. Pickett, and James G. Logan. “Heritability of attractiveness to mosquitoes.” PLoS One 10, no. 4 (2015): e0122716.|
|↑3||Bug spray poisoning. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑4||Avoid Mosquito Bites. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑5||Alvarez Costa, Agustín, Cecilia V. Naspi, Alejandro Lucia, and Héctor M. Masuh. “Repellent and Larvicidal Activity of the Essential Oil From Eucalyptus nitens Against Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae).” Journal of Medical Entomology 54, no. 3 (2017): 670-676.|
|↑6||Mathew, Nisha. “Mosquito repellent activity of volatile oils from selected aromatic plants.” Parasitology research 116, no. 2 (2017): 821-825.|