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11 Things Mosquitoes Don’t Want You to Know

With summer in full swing, read these secrets about mosquitoes before heading out for some fun in the sun.

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Pop canRed Confidential/Shutterstock

We love beer

There’s nothing like an ice cold beer on a hot summer night—just make sure to drink up inside. Why? A study by Japanese researchers uncovered that drinking a single beer increases mosquito attraction. Mosquito specialist Grayson Brown, PhD, director of the Public Health Entomology Laboratory in the Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky, tells CBS News that “CO2 comes bubbling out of a beer when it’s opened. C02 is going to attract mosquitoes that feed mostly on mammals. We know that mosquitoes use CO2 to get close to the mammals.”

From helping your heart to fighting cavities, here’s how beer can boost your health.

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Young sporty woman practicing yoga, doing Warrior one exercise, Virabhadrasana 1 pose, working out, wearing black sportswear, indoor, yoga studio close up. Healthy lifestyle conceptfizkes/Shutterstock

Leggings are our favourite accessory

You might think covering up in tight clothes is a smart idea since the pesky bugs won’t be able to attack your bare skin, right? Wrong. A study published in the Journal of Insect Science maintains the popular pants are a fashion don’t! “Spandex is very mosquito-friendly,” says study author Stacy Rodriguez in a press release. “They bite through it.” You’re better off wearing loose-fitting clothing—it makes it harder for mosquitoes to locate exposed skin. Another perk: This type of wardrobe will keep you cooler and redirect the heat–driven insects away from your body.

Find out why your mosquito bites itch for so long.

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We wish you wouldn’t wear that perfume

Rodriguez has also found that a popular perfume by Victoria’s Secret called Bombshell can work as a repellent. Despite its pleasant scent, the biting bugs hated the smell. However, because cosmetics contain so many ingredients—some of them proprietary—there’s no way to tell what the active agent is: “It’s probably composed of dozens of secret ingredients, and maybe one or two of them are repellents,” says Rodriguez.

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Herbs in rustic wooden plantersKateryna Omelianchenko/Shutterstock

We don’t like well-planned gardens

Mosquitoes dislike a number of lovely smelling flowers and herbs, according to Lawn & Landscape, including rosemary, lemon balm, lavender, marigolds, basil, peppermint, and garlic. The pests have very delicate sensing mechanisms that can be overwhelmed by the aroma of a flowering plant or common household herb. If they can’t smell your skin, blood, or sweat, they will seek out other locations.

These are the best mosquito repellent plants.

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Bucket with rain water outdoorsLena Lir/Shutterstock

We only need a little standing water to breed

Mosquitoes can lay eggs in the standing water you’d find in a bottle cap, reports the Environmental Protection Agency, so scan your yard for any potential breeding areas. The EPA advises “emptying and scrubbing, turning over, covering, or throwing out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers.” The pest control company Orkin warns that “water is also a food source while mosquitoes are in their aquatic stages. Mosquitoes feed on the many kinds of particulate matter that occur in water.”

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Lemon essential oil bottle with lemon fruits and mint leavescatalina.m/Shutterstock

Only buy these effective repellents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists only four chemicals as being effective for repelling mosquitoes: DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and IR3535.

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Mosquito on white mosquito wire mesh,net.Mosquito disease is carrier of Malaria, Zica Virus,Fever.GrooveZ/Shutterstock

You can keep us out of your home

Control mosquitoes inside your home by installing proper-fitting window and door screens. Repair tears and holes immediately. Look out for cracks in windowsills and under doors. Since mosquitoes love heat, keep the air conditioning running when possible, according to the CDC. A fan that creates a breeze will also annoy and deter the blood-sucking weak fliers while keeping you comfy and cool.

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We hate smoke

Mosquitoes are unlikely to join your s’mores party around the fire pit or campfire sing-alongs—the smoke smothers their senses making it difficult for them to find you. The experts at suggest throwing in some herb branches to increase the effect: They recommend lavender, mint, lemon balm, sage, and citronella.

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Close up of mosquito sucking blood on human skin, Mosquito is carrier of Malaria/ Encephalitis/ Dengue/ Zika virus jipatafoto89/Shutterstock

Our females are voracious

A female will continue to bite and draw blood until her abdomen is full (about between 0.001 and 0.01 millilitres of blood). If she is interrupted before she is full, she will just fly to the next person. After that big feeding, the female rests for two or three days before laying her eggs. And then she’s ready to bite and eat again, according to Mosquito World—a site devoted to controlling the blood-sucking critters.

Discover the symptoms and treatment for mosquito bite allergies.

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13 Common Infections That Can Raise Your Heart Attack Riskplenoy m/Shutterstock

We prefer type O blood

“Your attractiveness to mosquitoes is at least partially genetically-based,” says Joseph Conlon, technical advisor at the American Mosquito Control Association. Some of the bacteria your skin produces when you sweat can be particularly enticing to mosquitoes, as well as your blood type. A 2004 study from The Institute of Pest Control Technology found that mosquitoes were most attracted to type O blood.

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man jogging running stairs exercise workoutUfaBizPhoto/Shutterstock

We love your stinky sweat

Mosquitoes are attracted to the bacteria and chemicals that live in your sweat, including lactic acid. So, if you’re an outdoor exerciser, beware—mosquitoes sense and like that moist body heat, says Marie Jhin, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in San Francisco. Since dark clothing generates heat, avoid it.

Learn the medical reasons behind excessive sweating.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest