Myths and truths about mosquitoes
Nothing can drive one faster crazy like the buzzing sound of a mosquito in your ear at night. Despite their small size, mosquitoes are probably one of the biggest nuisances on the planet and cost us a lot of sleep.
But as much as we hate these small and annoying beasts, they have had a place in nature for millions of years and serve other animals as food.
But still you don’t have to like these beasts.
So what exactly helps against mosquitoes?
What exactly attracts these lousy little bloodsuckers? Will Garlic or Incense Sticks Help? And what is it that scares them off? Which mosquito myths are true? And why does a mosquito net make sense? Here are a few important points to clarify and tips to keep them away.
1. LIGHT ATTRACTS MOSQUITOES
The widespread opinion that “light attracts mosquitoes” sounds logical. But it is not correct when it comes to mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are nocturnal insects, but unlike moths, they are not attracted to light sources. Because these bloodsuckers hate light and are attracted by smells. They react to the air they breathe and are particularly attracted to the smell of sweat that people give off. Which is of course unavoidable, especially in warm or tropical countries.
2. WHAT KIND OF BLOOD DO MOSQUITOES LIKE?
Difficult to say which blood type mosquitoes are most obedient to. So far, there is no really reliable study that discusses this. Basically, however, it has been proven that your diet has no influence on the greed of pests. Unfortunately, a lot of garlic or chilli has no effect. But they taste good, so enjoy your meal.
3. HOW EFFECTIVE ARE SCENTED CANDLES AND INCENSE STICK?
To ward off mosquitoes at dusk, people come up with all kinds of strange rituals. From scented candles to incense sticks to citrus oils, everything is brought up that could have a deterrent effect. But unfortunately, there isn’t any scientific evidence here to show whether these methods are really a deterrent. That always depends on the individual case. This may help for evening get-togethers outdoors. However, these make less sense in the bedroom. Only a mosquito net can promise real protection here.
4. DOES ALKOHOL ATTRACT MOSQUITOES?
Drunk people are like an all-you-can-eat buffet for mosquitoes. They lie in bed defenselessly gasping. However, it is not alcohol that attracts mosquitoes. The real reason is that alcohol is known to dilate the blood vessels and thereby increase body temperature. And so people sweat more. The smell of sweat – that’s exactly what attracts the little beasts.
5. CLOTHING PROTECTS FROM STINGS.
It dawns and you are there. Many mosquitoes (not all, we will explain this below) are mainly nocturnal. Therefore it is very important to protect yourself against the little beasts, especially at dusk. Light, longer clothing can help here. In addition, especially in areas with malaria, it is advisable to additionally spray with a deet-containing mosquito repellent. The most effective products can often be bought here on site. As a rule, it should be enough to spray the hands and arms, legs and neck with it.
6. ULTRASOUND – THE ULTIMATE WEAPON AGAINST MOSQUITOES?
Ultrasound may make sense for animals that can hear well and find them annoying. But mosquitoes have trouble seeing and hearing. And that is why tones of all kinds do not have the desired effect. You can save yourself installing expensive apps on your smartphone. That is just a waste of money in the truest sense of the word.
7. DOES GARLIC KEEP MOSQUITOES AWAY?
What helps against vampires should also help against other bloodsuckers. At least this is one of the most persistent mosquito repellent myths. But we have to disappoint you. Garlic won’t protect you even if you shovel it raw by the kilo. Also no wooden cross or holy water will be placed on the bed, the insidious bloodsuckers will keep you at bay.
8. DOES COFFEE POWDER KEEP MOSQUITOES AWAY?
A bowl of ground coffee keeps mosquitoes away? Unfortunately, no. Whoever started this myth may have been a coffee seller. Unfortunately, no real effect can be seen here. Better save the coffee for the next morning. That makes a lot more sense.
9. THE COLDER THE WINTER THE FEWER MOSQUITOES IN THE SUMMER?
The simple formula “the colder a winter is, the fewer mosquitoes in summer” makes sense. However, the latest findings show that this is not the case. Mosquitoes have been prepared to survive a winter for millions of years and also have an antifreeze in their bodies that prevents cells from bursting in winter. Therefore, mosquitoes are unfortunately very well prepared for all types of winters and will visit you every summer.
10. MORE MOSQUITOES THANKS TO CLIMATE CHANGE?
In principle, this cannot be translated 1: 1. But with rising temperatures in northern Europe, summers are getting warmer and wetter. And more precipitation also means that more puddles form in the garden or on the roofs and rain gutters. These are exactly the ideal breeding sites for mosquitoes that lay their eggs in the water. It is therefore not surprising why mosquitoes can also appear in an attic apartment on the 5th floor.
11. MOSQUITOES HATE AIR CONDITIONERS
Yes, there is some truth to this story. Basically, the airflow from an air conditioner or fan helps to literally blow your smell away. This makes it harder for mosquitoes to find you. They say mosquitoes don’t like wind. You can imagine that wind is an enemy when you are only 6mm tall ;). As I said, a light breeze from the air-conditioning or a fan can help you avoid being bitten. But we wouldn’t rely on it.
12. TAKING A SHOWER LIMITS MOSQUITO BITES
Since mosquitoes are attracted to the smell of sweat, it makes sense to take a shower. This makes you less attractive and less easy for mosquitoes to spot. However, this can change quickly as soon as you start to sweat. And this is especially true on hot and tropical nights. A suitable travel mosquito net offers protection and at the same time allows enough air exchange.
SPREAD OF DISEASE
Malaria is one of the world’s most infectious diseases. Today, it is most frequently transmitted in tropical and sub-tropical regions via bites from the female Anopholes mosquito. Malaria exists in over 97 countries throughout the world, in particular in populous countries in South America, Africa and Asia.
Which mosquitoes spread malaria and dengue fever?
Here are mainly two different types of mosquitoes in question.
The mosquito species responsible for the transmission of malaria belongs to the genus Anopheles , About 40 species transmit malaria. These mosquitoes are active mainly at dusk and at night. Therefore, it is advisable to spray in the evening for outdoor stays with a mosquito repellent and wear bright, long clothes as possible. And to sleep at night under an impregnated mosquito net.
The mosquito species responsible for the transmission of dengue fever is called Aedes also known as Tiger Midge. These mosquitoes are especially active during the daytime. Which of course makes the protection much more difficult as you wear short clothes and many people spend the day at the sea or pool and thus show a lot of skin.
Especially in areas with malaria a safe night is of great importance. A single sting may be enough to catch this dangerous disease. In 2010 alone, 216 million people worldwide suffered from malaria and 50-100 million from dangerous dengue fever.
Attached is a link to the Tropical Institute in Hamburg, which provides information on its website to all known travel countries.
A guarantee for the correctness and completeness of the medical information as well as a liability for possibly occurring damages can not be taken over. For your health you remain responsible. Be sure to visit a doctor, preferably a tropical medicine before a trip in malaria areas to inform you about health measures!