It has been around 100 degrees lately and the nights have been beautiful. I was outside one night this last week and now I am itching like crazy from all the mosquito bites. I’m sure I am not alone when I say “I hate mosquitoes!”
Ever wonder why Mosquitoes bite? Only female mosquitoes bite humans and animals, males feed on flower nectar. Female mosquitoes need protein for their eggs, and must have blood in order to reproduce. Since males don’t bear children, they prefer nectar.
Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch? First mosquitoes don’t bite at all….The mosquito pierces the upper layer of the skin with her proboscis, a straw-like mouthpart that allows her to drink fluids. Once the proboscis breaks through the epidermis, the mosquito uses it to search for a blood vessel in the dermal layer underneath. When she locates a vessel, the mosquito releases some of her saliva into the wound. Mosquito saliva contains an anti-coagulant that keeps your blood flowing until she is finished with her meal.
Your immune system realizes something is going on, and histamine is produced to combat the foreign substance. The histamine reaches the area under attack, causing blood vessels there to swell. It’s the action of the histamine that causes the red bump, called a wheal. When the blood vessels expand, nerves in the area become irritated by the swelling. This irritation is the itchy sensation that annoys us.
WHY AM I A MOSQUITO MAGNET?
Why do some people get bite while others can sit outside all evening without a single bite?
Some people give off the right combination of sight and smell….
10 things you can do to guarantee a mosquito bite:
1. Keep breathing: Mosquitoes detect carbon dioxide in the air, so the more you breathe, the more likely you are to become a blood meal. Carbon dioxide clues the mosquitoes in to the presence of a living, breathing, blood-pumping animal nearby. Once they sense it, mosquitoes usually fly in a zigzag pattern through the CO2 plume until they locate the source.
2. Run around: Mosquitoes first locate potential victims using their sight, and anything moving will be deemed worthy of a second look. Go outside and flag them down by taking a job, moving around or jumping up and down.
3. Skip the shower: That’s right, the more you stink, the easier it is for a blood-seeking mosquito to find you. Drop the deodorant and skip the soap because mosquitoes love B.O.
4. Wear perfume or cologne: In contrast to B.O, mosquitoes also like strong floral sense. Bathe yourself in the strongest perfume money can buy.
5. Sweat a lot: Perspiration is the perfect combination of mosquito attractants – moisture and odors. Head outdoors on a hot, sticky summer evening, and work up a sweat. The mosquitoes will thank you.
6. Stay warm: Think of mosquitoes as heat-seeking missiles. The warmer you are, the quicker they’ll find you. Though mosquitoes can’t sense your body heat from a distance, once they get within a few yards, your warmth will lure them in.
7. Dress in dark colors: Research shows that mosquitoes respond best to dark colors, especially blue. Put away your light color shorts and white shirt; instead, try your jeans and a black t-shirt.
8. Use alpha hydroxy products on your skin: Lactic acid, which our bodies produce naturally, is a big draw for mosquitoes. It just so happens that many skin care products contain lactic acid, too, and so might help boost your chemistry with these blood-seeking bugs. Look for lotions and creams labeled “alpha hydroxy,” which provide the most lactic acid.
9. Don’t change your socks: Yes, this is based on scientific research, mosquitoes love smelly feet. The smell of a 3-day old sock was irresistible to mosquitoes.
10. Drink beer: Studies show people who’ve had a few beers score the most mosquito bites at the barbecue.
-Mosquitoes fly at speeds between 1 and 1.5 miles per hour…slower than butterflies, bees and other insects.
-A mosquito’s wings beat 300-600 times per second.
-Mosquito mates synchronize their wing beats to perform a lover’s duet.
-Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on Earth, because they carry many deadly diseases.
-All mosquitoes require water to breed. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in the smallest amount of water.
-An adult mosquito may live 5-6 months.
-Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide from 75 feet away.
-Mosquito repellant does not repel….. it hides your sent from mosquitoes.