First, a few words about your enemy.
Mosquitoes are attracted by carbon dioxide (exhaled breath), lactic acid, ammonia, phenols, humidity and other human emissions.
Repellents do not actually repel mosquitoes. They create a vapor barrier atop skin and mask or scramble the signals of attraction that humans emit. They make it tougher for mosquitoes to locate their target. Because they act as vapor barriers, repellents are rarely effective when applied underneath clothing.
Why are some people more attractive to mosquitoes? Researchers at the University of Florida speculate that human skin produces 300 or so chemicals, and one individual’s mix may be more attractive to mosquitoes than other person’s.
This means you may find one insect repellent very effective, and a friend may have great results with a different repellent.
From top: Mosquito-biting photo by Käyttäjä:Kompak (Wikipedia Commons); mosquito-trap photo by defenseimagery.mil.
By T.D. Wood
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Last updated: 09/05/2013
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