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Stop Being A Mosquito Magnet!

Do mosquitoes seem to love you? Find out how to keep these bloodsucking pests away from you without harsh chemicals!

Mosquitoes are a pesky nuisance for many this time of year. Besides the irritating itch, infectious mosquito-transmitted diseases such as West Nile virus, malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, chikungunya, and Zika are still threats throughout the world. But there are easy things you can do to repel mosquitoes and stop being a mosquito magnet!

Mosquito Facts

Some people are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than others. Understanding how mosquitoes select their target, what they are attracted to, and what they find offensive, could hold the key to preventing mosquito bites.

With their keen sense of smell, mosquitoes can detect their next victim up to 55 yards (50 meters) away. Only the female mosquito bites, males do not. The female mosquito needs the iron and protein in your blood to produce eggs.

Scents That Make You A Mosquito Magnet:

  • Carbon Dioxide: The larger the person, the more carbon dioxide they tend to exhale, which mosquitoes (and black flies) find irresistible. Adults are more apt to be bitten by mosquitoes than small children. Pregnant women also produce more carbon dioxide and are more susceptible to pesky bites. Of course, there’s nothing you can do about this, as we all need to breathe, but it’s a factor to understand.
  • Movement and Heat: If you’re outdoors and physically active on a hot summer evening, you could be attracting mosquitoes in your direction. Mosquitoes find you less appealing when you’re stationary. Opt for the hammock.
  • Body Odor – Sweat does not have a scent until bacteria develops. It’s old sweat that mosquitoes find enticing. Research indicates that mosquitoes are especially drawn to smelly feet and socks. If you’re about to head outdoors at dawn or dusk or in a waterfront area where mosquitoes are prevalent, shower first and use a perfume-free soap. Wear clean socks every time you venture outdoors. Entertaining outdoors in mosquito country? Lure mosquitoes away from you by hanging a smelly gym sock from a tree branch well outside the area. Let the socks be the mosquito magnet!
  • Lactic Acid: Your muscles produce lactic acid during vigorous exercise. When you are active or eating specific foods, your skin emits lactic acid and the more lactic acid on your skin, the greater your chances of getting bitten. Shower before heading outdoors to remove any build-up on your skin and exercise outside during daylight hours to reduce bites.

Does Blood Type Matter?

While there are things that you can do to avoid mosquito bites, there are certain things you cannot change. Certain body secretions that you can’t control attract mosquitoes. People also emit different scents based on their blood type. If you have Type O blood, you are naturally more susceptible to bites than those with Type A, which mosquitoes are least drawn to.

mosquito-repelling plants

Researchers are seeking ways to minimize or mask the human scents that attract mosquitoes.

Scents that Repel Mosquitoes:

  • ChickensScientists report that mosquitoes stay clear of most birds. In Ethiopia, researchers conducted a study using live chickens, humans, and mosquitoes. They found that the scent chickens give off kept the human participants from getting bitten by mosquitoes. Scientists are working on extracting certain chicken compounds to formulate a repellent, to stop the spread of disease. In the meantime, if you have chickens, allowing them to free range outdoors not only increases the amount of vitamin D in the eggs they lay but may keep you from getting mosquito bites.
  • Garlic – Consuming fresh garlic on a regular basis, or taking a garlic supplement, may cause your skin to emit a scent that can repel mosquitoes and ticks.
  • B1 vitamin (thiamine) – Taking a B1 vitamin supplement or wearing a thiamine skin patch may cause your skin to give off a scent that only mosquitoes will detect and find unpleasant. Since this vitamin is water-soluble toxicity is not a concern. Ask your healthcare provider for dosage recommendations.
  • Natural plant-based oils:
    • Eucalyptus
    • Lemon eucalyptus
    • Cinnamon leaf oil
    • Citronella
    • Rosemary
    • Peppermint

More ways to repel mosquitoes:

Attract Beneficial Bats To Your Garden

Repelling Mosquitos – a timely tip!

Make Your Own Natural Bug Repellent

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004. Her article on herbal baths appears in the 2021 Farmers' Almanac.

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Dreighton Rosier

Soaps to use when taking the showers recommended in this paper? I do not like the perfumed products and prefer unscented but those are hard to find in body soaps.

Susan Higgins

Hi Dreighton Rosier, there are some good olive oil-based soaps or Castile soaps that are fragrance free. Kirk’s is a good one to try, and it’s fairly inexpensive.

Susan Higgins

Thanks LJ Bickle for this information. In doing a little digging we found this study: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-06/ncsu-mrb061002.php

LJ Bickle

As far back as I can remember, mosquitos come after me (I’m now over 59). I’m not large, I eat garlic, and I have A blood. BTW: I saw a program years ago which showed that a person with tomato juice rubbed on his/her arm’s skin wasn’t getting bitten in a mosquito infested area (but the other two people were, and they used other repellents like DEET). The only thing is, I couldn’t tell if they were talking about prepared/commercial tomato juice (from a can or jar), or if the unbitten person used a fresh-cut tomato which got rubbed onto the arm). Maybe both works, but I’ve never tried either version of tomato juice on my skin).

Esther Decker

Drinking a glass of water with apple cider vinegar and honey mixed in will help repel mosquitoes too, if you drink it on a daily basis.

D Newell

I found out that the brown Listerine mouth wash works really well in keeping mosquitos
off of you…just put in a spray bottle and spray all over you…keep your eyes closed…also spray in area that you’re in outside…I like to spray my front porch area and they don’t come around….also good for mosquitos bites…takes the itch out and disinfects as well…Listerine was invented as a antiseptic to use during surgery years ago….so it won’t hurt you….

Denise Howell

My boyfriend eats Garlic often but like him anyway

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