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Pattaya Daily News

21 June 2010 :: 16:06:00 pm 26490

How Do Mosquitoes Choose Their Victims?

Some people have the need to fend of mosquitoes more than others, as they are attracted to body odour. Mosquitoes follow the scent of carbon dioxide which we all breathe out and can be smelt by them from afar. Once their victims have been located and the mosquito gets near, they then use body odour to decide who will be their next meal.
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Mosquitoes just love people who produce high concentrations of lactic, uric and folic acid which acts as a magnet to them.  Folic acid is a necessary nutrient with most pregnant women taking folic supplements during their gestation, so no surprise they are at the top of the food chain for these little pests. Studies showed that pregnant women were more attractive to the mosquitoes than their counterparts as they exhaled higher levels of carbon dioxide and had a higher body temperature.

Larger people tend to be bitten far more than a small person or child, as they breathe out more carbon dioxide. Mosquitoes also find skin warmed by alcohol appetizing, so you have a choice of bites or liquor. The use of deodorants, perfumes or other strong smelling products can help to disguise the body odours, but not necessarily for the better.

Pheromones are emitted by humans and other animals to attract the opposite sex, unfortunately the chemical also attracts the mozzies.  Research shows that mosquitoes are excellent at recognizing it There is a widespread belief that mosquitoes find women far sweeter than men, probably because of the estrogen, but in reality, gender does appear to play a role in who will be the next meal.

Uric acid is found where people suffer from arthritis, rheumatoid and gout and lactic acid is found in people who are outside in the heat sweating.  Mosquitoes are able to smell these chemical from up to 30 meters away. Some people have a strong reaction to mosquito bites so protection in the form of a repellant on the skin is advisable before going out. An antihistamine taken after the bite will help lessen the itch.

Heartworm is a parasite that is serious and potentially fatal for cats, dogs and a variety of wild animals. If a mosquito bites an animal that is infected by heart worms, then goes on to bite another it can transfer the seriously fatal parasite. Heartworms can only be transmitted from animal to animal via the mosquito.

The parasite matures into adult heartworms in six months. The first three months of the larvae life is spent traveling through the animal’s body, eventually reaching the lungs via the blood vessels. The next three months is spent developing into adults and damaging the blood vessels, reducing the hearts’ ability to pump then finally resulting in heart disease.   Adult heartworms are able to survive for anything up to seven years in dogs and cats.

Patty Brown

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