The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?  (Read 5463 times)

Pauline Wills

  • Guest
Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?
« on: 14/12/2010 15:30:03 »
Pauline Wills  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I have recently moved to Darwin Australia after having lived in Johannesburg South Africa (for the past 25 years).  

Whilst living in Johannesburg I was very rarely bitten or even worried by mosquitoes; however, having since moved to Darwin, I am now the target for mosquitoes and all sorts of other nasties on offer here.  

I have read a few articles on the subject of attraction but am puzzled how one minute I don't attract mosquitoes and then I do.  Is this because it is much hotter and humid in Darwin and my blood/body temperature is higher than it was in Johannesburg?  

Please give me some advice as I now know how my fellow man has suffered and would like some relief.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 14/12/2010 15:30:03 by _system »


 

SteveFish

  • Guest
Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?
« Reply #1 on: 14/12/2010 17:19:06 »
All mosquitoes are attracted to CO2, so they can find animals on the basis of their exhalations, but different species of mosquitoes have different preferences based on different odors. I once saw a film about an experiment that tested different species of mosquitoes with different individuals. The human subjects had to stick their arm into a screened enclosure so the experimenters could count the bites. It made me itch just to watch.
 

cat_with_no_eyes

  • Guest
Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?
« Reply #2 on: 14/12/2010 18:01:03 »
I've heard eating onions help to stop them biting you so much. Must be the onion smell or its effect on the blood.
 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?
« Reply #3 on: 15/12/2010 09:37:13 »
Scoffing onions may or may not work for some, but the side effects (extreme halitosis) could well have an undesirable effect on your social life.

The use of coal tar soap or Marmite seems to work for some. That is, eat the soap and wash in Marmite........ or should that be the other way around?  Yes, I'm sure it should.

Both of these preventative measures are far less likely to have an adverse effect on your social life, though perhaps not always....

It is possible that you had built up a resistance to the local mosquitoes in Jo'berg, so they didn't bother you much, or a tolerance to them which resulted in your not suffering the itchy effects of their bite. You have not changed, but the mozzies have. You are now encountering a different species to which you have no resistance or tolerance, and what's more, you are the 'new kid in town'.
 

SteveFish

  • Guest
Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?
« Reply #4 on: 16/12/2010 01:40:09 »
Don:

How does one build up resistance to a mosquito?

Steve
 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?
« Reply #5 on: 16/12/2010 14:11:12 »
Don:

How does one build up resistance to a mosquito?

Steve

I have no idea, but it always seems to me that local people are less bothered by mosquitoes than visitors to a particular region. Perhaps this is a misconception on my part. I wonder if anyone has studied this?
 

SteveFish

  • Guest
Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?
« Reply #6 on: 16/12/2010 16:09:04 »
Perhaps it is, sort of, the opposite. The itchy welts that mosquitoes leave are caused by the immune system reaction to foreign proteins. Maybe the immune system of your locals have just gotten used to the local strain of blood suckers. It is an interesting question.
 

Online yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 11987
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?
« Reply #7 on: 16/12/2010 18:01:19 »
I've also heard that some are more susceptible to mosquitoes?
Found this supporting the idea.
Why do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others?
 

Offline Airthumbs

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 958
  • Personal Text
    • View Profile
Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?
« Reply #8 on: 31/12/2010 18:43:00 »
I think they are intelligent too, they hide when you turn the light on and buzz your ear to make sure your asleep!
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?
« Reply #9 on: 01/01/2011 06:42:30 »
I think there have been (unconfirmed) reports that mosquitoes like perfumes...  and women  ;)...  Pauline was the original poster.

You might try a different soap or perfume.

You didn't mention if you are in an urban or rural area.

Here in the USA, some municipalities have very strict mosquito control programs.  In St. Louis, they would "fog" for mosquitoes.  I presume they would build up resistance to whatever they were spraying.  I tried to look online and see what it was, but it appears to be a "mystery substance"   [xx(]

Unfortunately, they liked to spray at dusk (which is probably the most effective time to control the critters).  But, I found that I was frequently out walking or riding my bike when their misting machine buzzed by.  I'd try to quickly turn a corner, but a few seconds later the machine buzzed me from the other direction   [xx(]

I don't know what the mosquitoes were like without their misting.  They never seemed to be too big of a nuisance  in town, nor in the rural areas.  At least nothing like I've encountered in the mountains where I've been bitten hundreds of times.  I can assure you that mosquito guts do not work as a repellant  [xx(]

In a rural setting, the mosquitoes are undoubtedly part of the natural eco-system, and I wouldn't mess with them unless there was an extreme risk of Malaria, or other severe mosquito borne illnesses.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Why have mosquitoes started to bite me?
« Reply #9 on: 01/01/2011 06:42:30 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums