VERIFY: What makes mosquitoes attracted to certain people?

Verify: What attracts mosquitoes to certain people?

MINNEAPOLIS -  We're moving into prime mosquito season, and you might see articles in your social media feed claiming mosquitoes are more attracted to certain people.

We wanted to verify whether these claims are true, so we checked with a local mosquito expert, Sandy Brogren at the Metropolitian Mosquito Control District, and two of the world's most renowned experts on mosquito attraction: Dr. Jonathan Day at the University of Florida and the team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

All three of our sources verified the number one thing that attracts mosquitos.

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"Mosquitos, the number one attractant for them is CO2. So if you're breathing out and you're warm-blooded, you're very attractive to a mosquito," said Brogren.

That makes the claim that people are more attractive to mosquitos when exercising and sweating - verified.

Day went deeper, explaining those who produce the most carbon dioxide are those with high metabolic rates. He says CO2 comes not just from heavy breathing, but from the skin as well.

And who happens to have higher metabolic rates?  Pregnant women and beer drinkers.

Day and the London School verify the claim that pregnant women are more attractive to mosquitos, and the claim that people are bitten more while drinking beer.

But what about blood type?  There are claims that Type O blood is most attractive to mosquitos.

Day and the London School say research on that topic is conflicting.

So the claim that mosquitos prefer one blood type over another cannot be verified.

"There's no evidence that there's a Blood Type O receptor on mosquito antennae, where there are carbon dioxide receptors all over the mosquitos bodies," Day said.

One more thing to keep in mind, Day says there is science proving clothing choice plays a role in attracting mosquitos, because they look for contrast to the background.  Therefore, dark clothing tends to attract mosquitos more, while light blues and yellows are more camouflaged. 

SOURCES:

Sandy Brogren – Entomologist - Metropolitan Mosquito Control District

Jonathan Day - Entomologist - University of Florida

James Logan and team - London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

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© 2017 KARE-TV


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