JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dr. Phil Koehler has been studying mosquitos for 47 years as an entomologist. He retired from the University of Florida but still goes to work there every day to conduct research.
He has learned over the last four decades, that mosquitos are attracted to two specific colors.
“Mosquitoes really like going to the colors red and black and we determined that over a long period of time that they will preferentially go to those particular colors,” he explained.
Koehler joked about those being Georgia Bulldogs colors -- a major rival for his own university -- but said the research is sound.
And colors aren’t the only thing that might attract mosquitos. There are certain odors that attract the pesky insects as well.
Any perfume that smells like flowers will draw them to your skin.
“They are attracted to flowers to get sugars to be able to fly. So that’s one of the things they like, is the odor of flowers,” said Koehler.
The bigger a person is, the more likely he or she is to attract mosquitos. Why? Koehler said the insects are attracted to carbon dioxide, the bigger someone is, the more they release from their body through their breath. This is the reason pregnant women might also experience more bites.
Mosquitos love sweat! If you exercise outside, Koehler said mosquitos will be drawn to you. There’s something else too.
“Mosquitoes like going to socks because of foot odor and they also enjoy going to shoes. So if you take your shoes off outside and place them next to the door outside, then the mosquitoes will be attracted to the shoe and follow you into the house when you open the door,” Koehler said.
While there have been reports that eating garlic may ward off mosquitos, Koehler said he has not seen any data supporting that information. He also cautions anyone from buying a bug zapper to kill mosquitos in your yard.
“They have limited efficacy,” he said against mosquitos since zappers typically, “kill a lot of bugs that we really don’t care about.”