(BPT) - You could be inviting mosquitoes into your home and enticing them to bite, without even knowing it. Your body chemistry, what you wear, and seemingly harmless objects around your house can all make you more vulnerable to mosquito bites.
The experts at the SC Johnson Entomology Research Center (ERC) have been studying insects, including mosquitoes, for 60 years, picking up useful knowledge on their habits and preferences.
To protect you and your family from mosquitoes this summer, it's helpful to know as much as you can about these pesky intruders: why they bite, when they are most likely to bite, what attracts them and what keeps them away.
As the world's largest private, urban entomology research center, the ERC is at the forefront of developing insecticides, repellents and other products that protect families and their homes from household pests, including mosquitoes.
'At SC Johnson, we've been studying insects and their habits for 60 years. We are always researching to learn more so we can develop more effective products and educate consumers on the best ways to protect themselves from mosquitoes,' says Dr. Maude Meier, senior research scientist at SC Johnson.
ERC researchers have closely studied a variety of mosquito species that have the ability to transmit mosquito-borne diseases. Their work has yielded some fascinating results, and they believe that everyone could benefit from more knowledge about mosquitoes:
1. Mosquitoes have preferred colors.
Although it may sound strange, mosquitoes have color preferences when deciding where to land. In most situations, they are drawn to darker colors. In order to help minimize your exposure to mosquito bites, wear light-colored clothing.
2. Mosquitoes like to bite some people more than others.
Body chemistry plays a big role in whether or not mosquitoes are attracted to you. For instance, mosquitoes are attracted to chemicals like the carbon dioxide emitted while breathing and lactic acid found in sweat. Both are factors that are unique to you and your body chemistry.
It's a common misconception to believe that blood type or skin and hair color make you more attractive to mosquitoes. If mosquitoes are biting you and not those around you, it's because they are attracted to your body chemistry more than others.
3. Mosquitoes don't need much water to breed.
Mosquitoes lay eggs in damp soil, still or stagnant water and only require a small amount of water to do so. Some types of mosquitoes only need a tablespoon of water to develop. Old tires, children's wading pools, toys, bird baths, potted plants and even a bottle cap can become their breeding ground. So remove all standing water to keep mosquitoes away and prevent breeding grounds near your home.
4. Mosquitoes don't just bite at dawn and dusk
Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes don't just bite at dawn and dusk. In fact, some mosquitoes, including the Aedes aegypti - a frequent transmitter of disease - bite primarily during the day. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), this species is most active for approximately two hours after sunrise and several hours before sunset. To get the most out of all outdoor activities, be sure to apply a DEET-based personal mosquito repellent, such as OFF!(R), across exposed body parts.
5. DEET keeps the mosquitoes away, in a stealthy way.
The highly effective ingredient DEET, which is found in a number of insect repellents, affects the scent receptors mosquitoes use to detect chemicals in the human body, such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide. This causes you to be, in a way, invisible to mosquitoes.
For more information, please go to www.scjohnson.com/mosquitoes.