How do mosquitoes find their target?


Mosquitoes need to suck blood in order to live. Female mosquitoes rely on heat sensors, visual and chemical sensors to find their prey. A combination of these senses helps the mosquitoes to get their nourishment.

Chemical sensors

The human body emits over 300 types of chemicals smell. The flying insects can identify these chemicals and locate the humans. Some individuals tend to release more of these chemicals. It is similar to the fact that some people sweat more. Thus, it is evident that for the mosquitoes these people become easy targets.

Human sweat

Sweat attracts mosquitoes more than any other element. Generally, it is the female mosquitoes that bite as they need to find nourishment for their eggs. It has also been found that mosquitoes choose some targets from others. Once a mosquito reaches you, it will test your skin to decide whether your blood is desirable. It may happen that the mosquito will leave without sucking. This depends on the chemicals that the skin secretes.

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is one of the major determinants for mosquitoes to find their targets.

Lactic acid

Lactic acid is generally found in fermented food items such as sour milk and some fruits. In human beings, it comes out as a byproduct. After a workout or exercise, varying degree of lactic acid levels develops within our bodies and specifically in he muscle groups. Our body also secretes the lactic acid through the skin from the sweat glands. Usually, higher lactic acid levels are avoided by mosquitoes. However, the mosquitoes that cause yellow fever in human beings are attracted towards lactic acid.

Heat and humidity sensors

Mosquitoes can recognize body heat and smell moisture emitted from the skin. These become the instruments to locate a person. The individuals who are physically active at a given point will also have a higher body temperature (than those that are physically inactive at the given point) are more susceptible to mosquito bites.

Visual senses

Mosquitoes have a keen sense of vision. They are able to detect movement easily. The clothes that people wear also have an effect on the bite of the mosquito. Mosquitoes tend to spot dark colors more precisely. As darker tones of color absorb heat more than lighter hues / tones, this helps the mosquitoes in locating the prey easily. Size also does matter. Those that are taller and obese are more susceptible to mosquito bites than those that are petite or of average built.

Mosquito repellents

The mosquito repellents work by giving out chemicals that are unwanted by the mosquitoes. They hide the sweat and scatter the biological range of mosquitoes. Repellents make the effect of carbon dioxide negligible thus helping you stay away from these flying beasts!

To avoid mosquito bites, there are a certain that you could do.

• People that live in mosquito infested areas should wear; long sleeved clothes and cover themselves to avoid mosquito bites.
• Hang a few bird feeders in your garden! This will ensure fewer numbers of mosquitoes in the house.
• There are certain bushes and plants such as basil that can repel the mosquitoes. Plant them in your garden.
• Mosquitoes breed in stagnant and dirty water. Empty out vessels, tanks and other containers that have standing / stagnant water.
• Mosquito repellents work effectively, but ensure that the skin doesn’t come in contact with these repellents as they can be harmful to the skin.

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