Tis the season to be bitten by mosquitoes and the least you can do to prevent that is spread some protective block on and hope that the tiny insect won’t find your smell appealing. A team of researchers took its time to figure out how the little blood suckers choose their target and concluded that mosquitoes have a high sense of smell which draws them to their next victim.
The story goes like this: Mosquitoes can sniff out their target from 50 meters away, sensing a host’s carbon dioxide plume. As the mosquito approaches its target, to within 5 to 15 meters, it begins to see the host and instantly plunges to bite the delicious fragment of epidermis. Mosquitoes are guided by visual cues that draw them close to the victim to the level that they can sense their prey’s body heat and ultimately decide to leave their mark. The entire set of events occurs at a distance of less than a meter.
Researchers reached the insightful conclusions after tracking mosquito behavior under a variety of circumstances, by watching them in a wind tunnel which served as a safe and controlled environment. They released 20 mosquitoes into a chamber with a single black dot on the floor.
In the first set of experiments, an increased concentration of CO2 plume was released into the tunnel, imitating the signal created by human breath. Consequently, researchers introduced a plume consisting of background air with low levels of CO2.
Mosquitoes smell the CO2, they leave the plume and sometime later they continue to fly towards their potential target.
Mosquitoes are drawn by our smells and the more CO2 our body releases, the higher the chances for us to get bitten by the insects. There is no way to avoid mosquito bites, as the herds of insects are increasing in numbers and recent mutations have made them more aggressive than ever.
The experiment conducted by researchers reveals the cause but does not suggest an action to be taken in order to get ourselves out of the mosquito trouble. Over time, we have been trying bug repellents, scents, candles, basil, protection cream, lotions and all other sorts of inventive cures to keep our skin away from the uncomfortable damage. We expect a further work of research and analysis to provide efficient solutions to the mosquito trouble, as knowing why it happens doesn’t necessarily lead us to the answer for the matter. Mosquitoes have a high sense of smell which helps them select their prey but humans are instead designed with a high sense of rationality, which should be able to provide a cure or a decent alternative to keep us away from the potentially dangerous mosquito bites.
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