Friday, August 1, 2008

Are Some People Mosquito Magnets?

By Kurt Soller
After this weekend's barbeques and fireworks displays, you might wonder why some people wind up covered in mosquito welts and others are bite-free. It's not a coincidence. Each person's individual body chemistry determines how many mosquitoes will come calling.

According to Joe Conlon, a medical entomologist who advises the American Mosquito Control Association, the insects can detect their targets from nearly 100 feet away. But what are they seeking? Mostly the scent of carbon dioxide and lactic acid, two compounds that indicate to the hematophagous—or blood-sucking—pests that their next landing pad is nearby. (It's worth noting that when a female mosquito latches on to you, she's not looking for food; instead, she sucks out blood to help fertilize her eggs … that's why males don't "bite"). Continue Reading >>

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