Mosquitoes love me. They can't get enough of me. And to make matters worse, they like to bite my face. Experts say mosquitoes really do have blood-sucking preferences. "One in ten people are highly attractive to mosquitoes," reports Jerry Butler, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Florida. Lucky me, I happen to be one of the chosen ten percent. I currently have a mosquito bite on my forehead the size of a grapefruit.
Dr. Butler says that people with high concentrations of steroids, cholesterol, uric acid, or lactic acid on the surface of their skin will attract mosquitoes. Also, those who emit large amounts of carbon dioxide are attractive. Mosquitoes can smell their dinner for an impressive distance of up to 50 meters. How are we supposed to avoid them, especially if we don't want to slather ourselves with DEET every time we go outside? Oil of eucalyptus products are said to be very effective, so I'm adding this to my shopping list.
Here's a few ways to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes and protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases like encephalitis and West Nile virus:
- Cover trash containers that have the ability to collect water.
- Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets.
- Make sure gutters and downspouts are draining properly.
- Empty bird bathes twice a week.
- Empty pets' watering dishes daily.
- Use sand to plug holes in trees where water can collect.
One birdbath alone can be a breeding spot for 5000 mosquitoes over the course of one summer. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to give the old stone one on the patio a good going over with me mops and me brushes. 5000! Yikes.
photo: birdbath at Willow Manor