Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorIt’s a bad year… and time for mosquitos.

Besides the aggravation of an itchy, irritating bite, there is now extra worry over West Nile showing up more and more along the Front Range.

So how can you keep yourself from becoming a mosquito pin cushion?

Overall, it’s a combination of sight and smell, with an emphasis on the latter when it comes to a mosquito deciding if you are a tasty treat.

Let’s start with vision. Mosquitoes don’t have the best eyesight in the insect world, but they are attracted to motion and to color.

Specifically black, blue, and red. The darker the shade, the more fashionable you are to a bite.

Run around, and you’ll be noticed a little more easily because of motion. Add to that the fact you’ll warm up and sweat– and you’ll quickly find out quickly that mosquitos like the chemicals in warm sweat, especially lactic acid- one more chemical that will bring a hungry bug your way.

The extra carbon dioxide you’ll exhale from movement is a special attraction as well. Sort of like dessert.

Even the by-products of chemicals that are excreted in sweat can be a problem–particularly alcohol.  Knock down even one beer, and your tasty index jumps.

Then there are the attractive fragrances found in perfumes. body lotions, and deodorants — mosquitoes love those odors as well.

So when you think about it, the easiest way to make yourself into a meal is to go out at dusk (feeding time), run around wearing dark clothing, working up a sweat, panting like a dog, guzzling a beer, and smelling like a rose.

For protection, think the opposite.

Then hope you aren’t just one of those people who are genetic gourmets for mosquitos, meaning you’re one of the unlucky landing zones who are a mealtime no matter what they do.

That’s where the insect repellent becomes a special friend.

Good luck!


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