Mosquitoes... they're the worst. Just when you've gotten comfortable in your favourite chair enjoying the fresh Summer air, along comes Miss Mosquito, on a mission to completely kill your vibe.
It's all in a days work for Miss Mosquito. Female skeeters require a blood meal in order to lay their eggs, so they use 3 special senses to track us down from a distance.
Using olfactory, visual, and thermal cues, female mosquitoes circle their prey, sniffing you out and sensing your body heat... before going in for the almighty bite.
First, Mosquitoes Use Smell
Mosquitoes, like many other insects, are attracted to the smell of carbon dioxide; the gas that humans and other animals exhale naturally.
In fact, they can detect our scent from up to 50 metres away. Whenever we exhale, we leave a plume - a pattern of carbon dioxide that mosquitoes can sniff out using the sensors around their mouths. The plume makes it easy for mosquitoes to detect, and then follow.
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Then, Mosquitoes Use Sight
After they've picked up our plume, they follow it and use their vision to help spot us. From a distance, they can get a general idea of where we are. At this point, Miss Mosquito might decide to rest for a while on nearby vegetation while planning her attack.
In a study that tested how mosquitoes use these senses, researchers found that mosquitoes were attracted to dark objects while also in the presence of carbon dioxide. This supports the long-standing theory that mosquitoes are more likely to bite people wearing darker clothing. That's why we're always banging on about choosing light colours instead of dark if you're spending time outside.
Finally, Mosquitoes Pinpoint Your Heat
Alright; so your scent was the first point of attraction for the female mosquito. Soon after, she followed your plume and sought out her target. Now she's in range, so she's ready to use her thermal cues to pinpoint your exact location.
The warmth our bodies naturally give off are the final indicator that we're a potential meal, and Miss Mosquito is finally ready to go in for the bite.
Here's it all wrapped up in a neat little video, courtesy of BBC Earth Unplugged.
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Can't handle mosquito bites? Get in touch with us; we provide mosquito barrier protection for your residential or cottage property, as well as weddings and special events.