Verify: Does drinking alcohol make you more attractive to mosquitoes?

Could having a few brews on your porch make you more of a target for mosquitoes?

A study first published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association tested the theory by measuring ethanol content in sweat, sweat production, and skin temperature before and after ingestion of 350 ml of beer by volunteers and compared them with a control subject.

The percent of mosquito landings on volunteers significantly increased after alcohol consumption.

Researchers initially believed this to be due to the increased amount of ethanol excreted through sweat or an increase in body temperature, but found that these did not correlate with mosquito landings.

“Persons drinking alcohol should be careful about their increased risk to mosquito bites and therefore exposure to mosquito-borne diseases,” the researchers wrote.

Another study, published in 2010, mirrored the results of the original study.

“Despite individual volunteer variation, beer consumption consistently increased attractiveness to mosquitoes,” the 2010 study found.

Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District spokesperson Luz Maria Robles said that while she couldn’t comment on the validity of the studies, certain factors are known to make you more attractive to mosquitoes.

Smell, sweat, body temperature, wearing darker clothing and your carbon dioxide output from exhaling are all factors which affect how attractive you are to mosquitoes.

Robles said the best way to avoid mosquitoes is to first and foremost make sure you’re not breeding them — regularly check for standing water on your property in bird baths, kiddie pools, dog dishes, and other containers.

Avoiding dusk and dawn, wearing repellant and having an outdoor fan (mosquitoes are weak fliers) can also reduce your risk of bites, Robles added.

Verify sources:
Luz Maria Robles, Public Information Officer for the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District

Verify resources:
Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association
French National Research Agency Study

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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