How To Avoid Mosquito Bites [And Why Mosquitoes Bite Certain People]!
By: Joe Simonds on June 27, 2016
Are you a mosquito magnet?
Do you consider yourself as one of those unlucky souls that always seems to be attracting mosquitoes?
And do you envy those fortunate guys and gals who miraculously get spared from the itchy and irritating blotches that the annoying mosquito leaves behind?
Well, don’t fret for you are NOT alone.
Regardless if you are an angler or not, these mosquitoes (aka “midgies” in other parts of the world) can make an outside experience unbearable some days, even if you have mosquito spray on!
For years, my brother Luke and I have had all kinds of theories on why mosquitoes would bite some people and not others…
Sometimes while out fishing the girls on the boat would get torn up from neck to toes with mosquito bites while the guys hardly had any. Then sometimes it would be the other way around with the guys getting eaten alive by skeeters.
For a while, we believed that not bathing, smelling bad, and avoiding cologne/perfume would both entice fish and detract mosquitoes. To prove this mosquito theory, we would go an entire week on Little Gasparilla Island without a single shower just to avoid mosquitoes.
We did this for years and it actually seemed to help…
Of course, that theory went out the door when we were fishing down near the 10,000 islands one summer. There wasn’t any amount of bad smell in the world that could ward off those unforgiving mosquitoes near the Everglades…
Then Luke would swear that certain sunscreens would detract mosquitoes. That too, worked well until it didn’t work any longer. Myth busted.
Are you similar to us in that you are dying to know why mosquitoes bite some people and not others (and how to get mosquitoes to stop biting you)?
Well, we finally did a little research on mosquitoes. Read on and learn what science says about mosquitoes:
- Who they love to bite the most,
- Where they usually hang out,
- And what are the things they actually hate!
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite People?
First and foremost, let’s talk about why mosquitoes bite.
Jimmy Buffet famously said, “Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame…”
And in this case, ol’ Jimmy is 100% correct!
You can blame every single mosquito bite to a woman because ONLY the female mosquitoes bite!
Yes, that is correct, the male mosquitoes feed on fruit and plant nector while the females are the bloodsuckers… You see, the lady mosquito needs our blood, which has certain protein that helps fertilize and develop their eggs.
Mosquito Trivia: After the female mosquito’s blood meal, it can lay anywhere from 100 to 400 eggs. Just imagine how fast they could multiply!
Science says that a person’s genes, blood type, metabolism, and lifestyle have something to do to make him susceptible to mosquito bites. However, there are also some things to avoid that we will share below.
How To Avoid Mosquito Bites
(Without Chemical Sprays That Contain DEET)
To help our fellow anglers and outdoor enthusiasts out there, we have listed some of the top recommended mosquito remedies that we have found from our mosquito research.
As you will see, some of them are easier to digest than others…
This first one brings a tear to my eye…
1. Don’t Drink Beer.
Yes, you’ve read it right, mosquitoes are actually attracted to beer drinkers (this is really sad as you all know how I love beer…).
According to the research findings of the “Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association” conducted in June 2002, abstaining from alcohol can help keep mosquitoes away from you whenever you’re outdoors.
Another study in the March 2010 issue of “PLoS ONE” supported and backed up the previous findings that beer does, in fact increase mosquito bites.
Both of these studies stated that people who consumed beer had a higher chance of being bitten or had an increased incidence of mosquito landings on their skin, compared with those subjects who abstained from drinking alcohol.
The report also cited that “the body odor of beer drinkers” caused by some changes and reactions in their skin is the primary culprit in increasing their attractiveness to mosquitoes.
Science, say it ain’t so!
2. Consider Eating These Healthy Foods Before Fishing, Camping, Or Heading Outdoors.
The following foods in your system are considered to be mosquito deterrents:
- green peppers
- citrus fruits like orange, lemon and lime are supposed to be a good mosquito deterrent.
Also, having some sips of fresh fruit shake or smoothies every morning can perhaps do wonders.
Forget about salty and processed foods as these can transform you into a “yummy buffet” in the eyes of mosquitoes.
On the other hand, try eating spicy foods as most of them have onions, chilies, garlic, coriander and other herbs and spices as base ingredients, which are all reputed to have mosquito repelling qualities.
3. Herbal Oils Are Great Natural Mosquito Repellents.
Many natural, plant-based essential oils do work well at preventing mosquito bites.
Their strong smell of the mixture will keep the mosquitoes away from you for at least six to eight hours, not to mention their antibacterial, antifungal and anti-protozoan properties.
Essential oils like lilac, coconut, eucalyptus, lemon grass, rosemary and lavender can be mixed with water and turn magically into an instant mosquito repellent spray. More so, peppermint, tea tree and citronella herbal oils can be applied on the exposed parts of the body.
Chemical-based mosquito repellent sprays (like most products that use DEET) may do more harm than good to us, especially to the kids and our environment, too. Choosing organic and natural products, even our mosquito repellent, has been found safe, effective and really affordable.
Check out this 2-minute “DIY mosquito repellent” video tutorial:
See, that’s pretty easy, right? You can take your DIY mosquito repellent spray anytime and anywhere!
4. Wear Light Colored Clothes
Do yourself a favor by wearing light-colored clothes.
Because mosquitoes are attracted to darker colored clothes like
- navy blue
- dark red.
We highly recommend trying our microfiber performance shirts and hoodies to give you the comfort and the protection you need. We even let you try any shirt, hoodie, or hat a full 30 days to make sure you love it before you own it.
We offer not just high-quality and comfy fishing apparel that perfectly suits every angler’s taste and style but most importantly, we help most anglers, newbies, and experts alike, to catch more fish. Visit our shop page today!
5. Avoid Sweating & Breathing Heavily
Mosquitos are attracted to carbon dioxide, and the more you sweat and perspire, the more carbon dioxide you emit.
According to WebMD, any type of carbon dioxide is attractive to mosquitos, and they can smell it over long distances. And when movement (which attracts mosquitoes) is combined with the smell of carbon dioxide from your breathing along with the lactic acid from your sweat, it is almost too much to resist for a mosquito.
So the next time you are outside and having issues with mosquitoes, stop running around and breathing hard!
A few of the types of people the most at risk for mosquitoes being attracted to the carbon dioxide are:
- Pregnant women (usually produce higher than average amounts of carbon dioxide)
- Heavier people (usually produce higher than average amounts of carbon dioxide)
- Anyone who has been exercising and slows down to take some deep breaths
The Craziest “Potential” Way To Avoid Mosquitoes
Some brave guys on Twitter tried “pounding some ants” on their skin to repel biting mosquitoes because they heard about the formic acid trick. #SurvivalTips
— Dual Survival (@DualSurvival) June 23, 2016
Disclaimer: We haven’t tried this (and most likely won’t); so in case, you wish to give it a shot, please be extra careful. And let us know if this trick works for you and your buddies.
Genetics, Metabolism, & Lifestyle
According to WebMD, although it has been proven that genetics account for a massive 85% increase of our susceptibility to mosquito bites, scientists still conduct lots of research as to what compounds and odors humans release that might be very attractive to mosquitoes.
Similarly, other researches denote that there are certain blood types that are more appetizing to mosquitoes. They cannot resist the scent being secreted by people with Type O blood – making them potential victims.
Our bodies exude chemicals such as ammonia, steroids, cholesterol, lactic and uric acids through our skin, depending on our body type, metabolic rate and the activities we do.
And as explained by John Edman, PhD of Entomological Society of America, insects like mosquitoes rely on these substances that trigger their sense of smell, luring them to land on unsuspecting victims especially those at close range, not to mention their “superpower” to still sense it even at a distance of 50 meters.
Mosquito Trivia: Mosquitoes can smell their dinner up to 50 meters (approx 150 feet) away.
Additionally, people with high concentrations of steroids or levels of cholesterol on their skin surface seem really inviting to mosquitoes as these individuals are believed to be more efficient at processing cholesterol, the byproducts of which stay on their skin’s surface.
Our metabolic rate as well as the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) our body releases as it burns energy. For one, when we sweat during an exercise or a usual routine, it makes us more vulnerable to insect bites. Mosquitoes can detect increased levels of CO2, emitted in our breath, and use same to identify their targets even as far as 150+ feet away.
If we really wish to lessen the chances of being their “favorite targets,” we should consider looking into what we take inside our body as well as what we choose to wear.
Eating foods that are high in carbohydrates, sodium, and potassium increases the amount of certain acids that attract mosquitoes. Eating those type of foods greatly affects our body odor or scent that mosquitoes cannot say “NO” to.
Finally, these annoying blood suckers also use their vision to detect their victims. It is highly advisable for us to wear light-colored clothing such as white and pastels. Bid goodbye to black, navy blue and red wardrobe as they are visually attracted to these colors.
Well, hope you enjoyed this mosquito post and hopefully you learned a few tricks to avoid mosquitos this summer.
If you know of any other mosquito tricks, please leave them in the comments.
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P.P.P.S. – If you’d rather continue to keep getting bitten by mosquitoes than give up drinking beer outside in the summer, then CHEERS!