Five myths about mosquito bites

Due to the more than mild climatic conditions, these insects find a highly propitious terrain for their development and proliferation. And with that, the return of urban legends about bites.

Who says summer period says hot and therefore return of mosquitoes. And with them the large number of received ideas that we can have. If there is something that everyone agrees on, it is its unbearable buzzing when it approaches our ears.

But otherwise, are they really attracted to light? What about sweet skins? Is it true that only females bite and that lemongrass seems to be the most effective solution to repel them? Here are the 5 misconceptions about mosquitoes.

• Mosquitoes are attracted to sweet fur

Nope

There is no mosquito skin. On the other hand, the latter are attracted by the amount of CO2 as well as by the other fatty acids exhaled by our epidermis. In some cases, the smell and perspiration can attract them. That is why in the same place and at the same time some will be more devoured than others.

• They are attracted to light

Nope

At the risk of disappointing you, this is once again an urban legend. To the extent that mosquitoes are attracted to CO2-releasing fur in particular, they locate their prey primarily by smell. So, are you wondering why when a light is turned on, many insects gather together? Simply because they are attracted to light. But if you take a closer look, you will not see mosquitoes, but mainly moths, flies or gnats.

• Is the citronella candle effective?

Yes but…

Who has never sold the effectiveness of a spiral or citronella candle lit on a barbecue afternoon? Actually, it is mostly the smoke that emanates from it that annoys the mosquitoes, rather than the smell of lemongrass itself. However, lemongrass can be effective, but in a short period of time, like other products.

• It is not recommended to scratch the pimples

Yes

It is strongly discouraged. The more you scratch, the more the itchy sensation increases. Above all, the risks of injury and scarring are greater. If it really is stronger than you, it is recommended to use cold or heat to relieve the itching sensation.

It should also be noted that if certain viruses, such as Zika, malaria, dengue or yellow fever can be transmitted through a bite, HIV is very quickly digested by the insect’s body. As a result, it then ends up in your salivary glands and therefore without any risk of infection for humans.

• Only females bite

Yes

Real! The females need our blood to reproduce. This is why the bite occurs after mating, once the female has been fertilized. The collected blood provides the latter with the necessary proteins for the maturation of its eggs. As for the male mosquitoes, they feed on blood but they also feed all year round on the nectar of plants and fruits.

However, to avoid bites, remove dark colors, stay away from standing water, and unlike lemongrass, mosquito netting is still the most effective solution to keep them away.

Mathieu Ait Lachkar with AFP

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