From perfume, to the colour of your shirt, right right down to the smelliness of your own feet, mosquitoes manage to find any reason to sink themselves into human skin.
Scientists say that stinky feet and socks might be added to the list of things that attract 腳臭 to give off human blood. One African scientist is now using that bit of research to help fight malaria in Tanzania by creating traps that give off, trying to lure the bloodsuckers that carry the illness on their hosts.
“Scientists have known for many years that mosquitoes smell people; that they can do not see us, but rather they smell us,” wrote Dr. Fredros Okumu in a email from Tanzania where he heads the studies project with the Ifakara Health Institute. “This is the items that we produce in our breath, sweat of skin that [mosquitoes] use like a signal to get us. If you are wearing socks, these skin-derived chemicals remain on the sock fabric and can still be detected by mosquitoes even once you have removed your socks.”
Okumu’s project received a $775,000 grant today through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada to finance the traps and help further development.
But unclean feet and dirty socks aren’t really the only stuff that entice a mosquito to look set for the kill. Experts say that Limburger cheese has been specifically found to be appealing to certain mosquito populations. Ned Walker, a professor from the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University, studies mosquitoes extensively. Walker said that everything from body build to the particular perfume you wear can be the difference between deterring and attracting the pests.
“You will find a variation among attraction to different people … Men are certainly more attractive since they tend to be larger than women,” said Walker, adding that the floral scents given off by deodorants and perfumes also attract some type of mosquitoes for the skin.
However, determining why a lot of people leave a picnic covered in bites and some escape without a battle wound remains to be up for debate.
“There are many [species] which can be appealing to the odors in humans. But what we wish to know is the reason why some mosquitoes are fascinated by birds and never mammals, for some subsets of humans but not all humans. It is really an active section of research,” said Walker.
Joe Conlon, technical adviser in the American Mosquito Control Association, said genetics in addition to fair skin might also be a factor in attractive to mosquitoes, although scientists remain dexrpky21 if the bites are simply more noticeable on those with fair skin.
Even though fair skin is much more appealing to the insects, lighter colors of clothing turn them off.
“It’s prudent to wear in light-colored clothing. There is a preference by some species to get interested in darker colors… Wear loose fitting clothing. Mosquitoes can bite through tight-fitting clothing,” he explained.
Conlon said that the sole surefire method of preventing from biting is to wear a repellant, to view what clothes you wear and to eradicate standing water that collects in places like with the bases of flower pots and towards the bottom of air conditioner drip pans.
He also cautioned against using any substitutes to 除臭襪 like vitamin B, praoclaiming that double blind tests have proven these remedies to never work effectively.
“Most of the time, people are not fearful enough. With West Nile Virus falling off the radar, individuals are less concerned. … Young people need to [know] which they cannot just ruin your picnic, they may ruin your way of life,” said Conlon.