New Study on Why Some People Attract Mosquitoes, While Others Repel Mosquitoes

May 22, 2023:
A very small study** from Zambia just found that “high attractiveness (to Malaria mosquitoes) is associated with whole body odor profiles from humans with increased relative abundances of the volatile carboxylic acids butyric acid, isobutryic acid, and isovaleric acid, and the skin microbe-generated methyl ketone acetoin.”

” Conversely, those least preferred had whole body odor that was depleted of carboxylic acids among other compounds and enriched with the monoterpenoid eucalyptol. “

The study found that the mosquitoes were particularly attuned to the oily secretions that hydrate skin and protect it from microbes, inlcuding chemical compounds called carboxylic acids that are produced by microbes in our eccrine glands. Eccrine glands are the microbe-rich, particularly stinky glands that make our feet stink, butt stick, and pit stink.

**Out of the just 7 people in the study, just one individual in the new study was relatively unappealing. That person’s personal signature scent included an unusually low amount of carboxylic acids, along with high levels of eucalyptols. Because eucalyptols are found in many plants, it raises the possibility that diet can play a role,

Other past studies have shown that pregnant women are more likely to attract mosquitoes. … Drinking alcohol attracts mosquitoes. … Using certain kinds of soap, even ones that leave behind a smell dominated by a chemical known to repel mosquitoes, paradoxically increase people’s attractiveness to mosquitoes.

“What really matters to the mosquito is not the most abundant type of chemical, it’s really those chemical interactions and relative abundances,” said Clément Vinauger, an assistant professor of biochemistry at Virginia Tech. He recently tested four commonly used soaps and found that three increased humans’ attractiveness to Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, while one — Native coconut and vanilla body wash — seemed to decrease it, probably because mosquitoes don’t like coconut oil.”

Scientific Context:
In practical terms. we each have some unique odors coming from our personal mix of different microbes (bacteria) living in our eccrine glands.

Our eccrine glands are glands in our skin, that produce the unique odors of our feet, in the crack above our butts, behind our ears, in our armpits, and in our groin area. … Example: Notice how the people whose feet stink like European speciatly cheeses, have the same bacteria in their eccrine glands that are used to make the stinky cheeses. 😉

Because carboxylic acids have been proven by 2 studies to play such big roles, then neutralizing the acids, and changing our mix of bacteria in our eccrine glands can (at least temporarily) can change some people’s distinctive personal odors that attract mosquitoes.

IOW … Selectively apply a small amount of baking soda (wetted with a little water) to your stinky spots, to not only neutralize the mosquito attracting carboxylic acids, but to also change our bacterial mix in our eccrine glands. 🙂

Unless you re-seed your eccrine glands with a beneficial mix of microbes whose waste products do not attract mosquitoes, you may have to re-apply the tiny amounts of baking soda every 3 – 5 days, depending on how sweaty you are.

= = = =
Finally, YES … Carbon dioxide CO2 wafting downwind in plumes from our breath does play a significan role in attracting mosquitoes at longer distances, and heat sources also play a role as the mosquitoes get close to us (sensing our hot skin), yet it took ALL 3 components (CO2, heat source and body stink) to attract mosquitoes.

Dr. Steven M. Fry

Read-on, MacDuff …

Read On … MacDuff !

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