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Mosquito Myths!

October 27, 2017

We find lots of mosquito trivia on the internet and take the time to sift through the real from the not so real. I recently came across a fabulous article courtesy of WA Today that highlights some cool mosquito myths – what works and what doesn’t. It’s fun reading!

Courtesy of WA Today - 21 November 2016 by Bridie Smith

Drinking beer repels mosquitoes, right? 

As much as we want it to be, this one isn't true. A study conducted in Burkina Faso found mosquitoes were actually more likely to target beer drinkers than water drinkers. The research concerned just one type of mosquito: Anopheles gambiae. This apparently malt-mad mozzie isn't among the mosquitoes found in Australia. However it is possible that drinking alcohol increases your meal appeal for mosquitoes, insects which are more attracted to a higher body temperature and increased carbon dioxide output from faster breathing.

Eating certain foods makes you unpalatable to mosquitoes

Wouldn't it would be great if tucking into a banana or overdosing on Vegemite or garlic sent the mosquitoes flying for the hills. Diet can influence the smell of your skin, which is one of the things that alert mozzies to you. There are up to 400 chemical compounds found on human skin however diet influences just a fraction - and not enough to stop mozzies targeting you for a meal.

Wearing light clothes stops mosquitoes being drawn to you

This is kind of true. They are attracted to dark colours, particularly navy blue. Wearing pale colours won't protect you from being bitten - but it might mean you get fewer bites.

Mosquitoes prefer women over men and children over adults

To a point, this is true. Less body hair makes women a more accessible meal and therefore a greater target to the female mosquito, who is seeking protein and iron-rich blood to nurture her eggs. Similarly young children would be more appealing than a hirsute hombre. Children are also more likely to react to bites and over time gain a tolerance to the mosquito saliva.

Isn't vitamin B like kryptonite for mosquitoes?

It's been tested. And tested. And tested. And the results are conclusive. Taking extra doses of vitamin B tablets to ward off mosquitoes doesn't work.

Bug zappers and UV lights can control mosquitoes

Zappers may kill a small number of mosquitoes but they also kill other insects and overall do more harm than good. As for the UV lights, there's not much evidence they attract mozzies and if they do it's the males. Which don't bite.

Take the natural approach: grow 'mozzie blocker' plants in your garden

Think about it. Are coastal areas with trees free of mosquitoes? Exactly. Sure, at concentrated levels the oils extracted from plants such as ti tree, melaleuca and eucalyptus might repel mosquitoes. But growing the plant in your garden won't.

Apps that use sound to repel mozzies work

No. They don't work. There's no evidence that apps which claim to emit a frequency mosquitoes dislike or replicate the sound of a dragonfly's wing beat to scare the mozzies off work. So save your money.