What Attracts Mosquitoes?

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Keeping mosquitoes away starts with identifying what attracts them in the first place

Summer in Maine doesn’t last very long, which makes it all the more important to enjoy it while it’s here. Unfortunately, one drawback that comes with summer is the mosquitoes. You know, those flesh-biting, itch-inducing, disease-spreading, flying insects that infest backyards in droves? Yes, those ones. Not only are mosquitoes in Maine annoying, but they can also transmit Eastern equine encephalitis, West Nile virus, and other mosquito-borne diseases. In order to keep mosquitoes away from you and your family while the weather is at its finest, let’s first talk about what attracts them and then the methods we can employ to reduce mosquito activity. 

mosquito sucking blood of a maine homeowner

What attracts mosquitoes?

The answer to this query is two-part. First, mosquitoes are attracted to some people more than others and second, they’re attracted to some yards more than other ones. 

If you feel like you’re a mosquito magnet, you’re not alone. Mosquitoes are attracted to humans for a variety of reasons including the following:

What they smell like

Not only do perfumes and scented lotions attract mosquitoes, smelly feet, the smell of lactic acid in sweat, and other odors on a person might lure them over. 

What they eat and drink

Oddly enough, mosquitoes are drawn to people who drink beer and other alcoholic drinks as well as eat bananas and other potassium-rich foods, potato chips and other salty snacks, and Limburger cheese as well as sugary treats, foods high in cholesterol, and ketchup to name a few. In some cases, beverages and foods change the chemical composition on your skin which mosquitoes like and others increase your overall body temperature which makes it easier for mosquitoes to find you. 

If they’re pregnant

Yes, pregnant women are more likely to be a target for mosquitoes because they tend to breath heavier. This is especially true for women pregnant during the hot summer months. What’s the connection? Carbon dioxide. We all emit carbon dioxide when we exhale and that makes it easier for mosquitoes to find us. With the extra weight, the baby sitting on the bladder, and other lovely pregnancy conditions, women with child are breathe heavier and so they emit more carbon dioxide than the average person. Plus, they’re overall body temperature is likely to be higher given their condition; this makes it easier for mosquitoes to find them as well. 

Moving on, let’s talk about mosquito breeding sites and where mosquitoes hide – in other words, what attracts mosquitoes to backyards and properties. 

Mosquito breeding sites

In order to reproduce, female mosquitoes need a bloodmeal (that’s you, potentially) and standing water. Blood is necessary for egg production because it provides needed nutrients; standing water is a must because that is where mosquitoes lay their eggs. If you’re thinking you’re in the clear because you don’t have lakefront and there isn’t any water on your property, we’re here to tell you that you’re still in the risk zone. A thimble-full of water is all a mama mosquito needs to complete her mission. A tarp that’s fallen under the deck, a bucket collecting rain water, an old tire behind the shed, clogged gutters- all will provide the necessary amount of water. Really anything that collects water on your property becomes a potential mosquito breeding site. 

Mosquito resting sites

While mosquito behavior varies by species, most of the ones that reside within our state’s borders are most active from dusk to dawn. During the heat of the day, they tend to find a resting spot where they can cool off. Tall grass, dense growth where lawn meets woods/forest, compost, and piles of leaves and other organic material are common mosquito resting sites. 

Mosquito prevention tips 

To prevent mosquito bites and discourage these pesky insects from hanging out on your property, we recommend the following tips:

  • Wear long-sleeves, pants, and a hat with mosquito-netting when spending time outside
  • Apply an EPA-registered mosquito repellent 
  • Schedule outdoor activities for when mosquitoes are less likely to be active
  • Install window screens or repair existing ones if they have tears or holes
  • Keep your garage door closed when not in use
  • Locate and remove any item that can collect water
  • Clean clogged gutters and make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation and prevent pooling 
  • Remove yard debris 
  • Trim back overgrowth 
  • Mow the lawn frequently 

Sign up for professional mosquito control 

For the greatest protection against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses, we strongly encourage homeowners to sign up for seasonal mosquito control

At Pine State Pest Solutions, we offer mosquito control services in Auburn, Cape Elizabeth, and Gardiner as well as throughout our service area that is designed to significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes resting and breeding on your property May through September. Our monthly mosquito treatment program includes: 

  • A thorough inspection of your property to locate mosquito breeding and resting sites
  • Monthly misting treatments that target areas where mosquitoes are active
  • In addition to our monthly service visits, we’ll also let you know if there are conditions present that are attracting mosquitoes. 

For more information about Pine State’s mosquito control or if you’d like to learn more about our service that targets mosquitoes AND ticks, please reach out today! You’ve nothing to lose except the mosquitoes!

 

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