Researchers at Virginia Tech have discovered that particular fragranced soaps are more susceptible to attracting mosquitoes.
It is reported that female mosquitos look for people because they need our blood to produce eggs. However, they also look for flowers to get the sugars from the nectar of those plants.
So, essentially, when you use scented products made from plant sugars and nectar, the lines tend to get blurred and it impacts mosquitos.
That was the suggestion from Clément Vinauger, an assistant professor of biochemistry at Virginia Tech.
“We wash ourselves with soaps and we like those soaps to be scented with flowers or fruit smells because we find that very pleasant, but the problem is that mosquitoes like that too,” said Vinauger.
Researchers like Vinauger set out to answer the question, ‘could our scents attract or repel mosquitoes?’
The researchers tested volunteers with nylon sleeves and four popular soaps: Dial, Dove, Simple Truth, and Native.
“What we found was that three out of four soaps that we tested actually increased how attractive to mosquitoes, and only one of them had the opposite effect, to make you less attractive to mosquitoes,” Vinauger explained.
The soap that repelled mosquitoes was coconut scented.
“The soaps, from your body, but also from all these sources…maybe your laundry detergent is scented with something, maybe you’re drinking a beer and that attracts more mosquitoes as well, so all these interactions result in explaining what mosquitos like or not, so it’s a very complex system,” said Vinauger.
Researchers say this is a step in the right direction to understand how mosquitoes think and operate, but more work needs to be done.
With the start of the hurricane season, breeding of more mosquitoes is likely. So, in addition to taking the necessary steps to eliminating breeding sites, you may want to swap out your scented soap.
Despite the blurred lines that scented products present, one thing that is certain is that standing water is a magnet for mosquito breeding. Drain your garbage cans, gutters, buckets, flowerpots, and other containers to avoid mosquitoes. Remember to use non-irritating bug spray containing DEET.
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