When summer comes, mosquitoes appear. But surely no one likes a mosquito buzzing away.
According to the website of Spanish newspaper el pais on July 24, this is no joke. These tiny insects are considered the deadliest animals in the world, killing more than 725,000 people each year. No other creature, not even humans, kills as many people each year as mosquitoes.
Some of the questions that we often ask about mosquitoes include why do they buzz, why do some people attract mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes do not buzz to warn their target of a bite, but rather to attract the attention of others who are ready to mate. They can’t stop making that sound. It’s just that the buzz sounds louder as they circle around your head looking for a foothold and a bite.
Although both sexes produce this sound, it’s definitely the female that buzzes around you because the males don’t bite, they feed on nectar. Male and female mosquitoes need each other for mating. Entomologist Louis marcus roth devoted his youth to helping the U.S. army study yellow fever carried by mosquitoes. In an article published in 1948, he showed that females were ignored by males as long as they rested silently.
Mosquitoes rely on carbon dioxide to spot their targets. When we exhale from our lungs, the carbon dioxide we expel does not immediately mix with the air. Mosquitoes track the scent of carbon dioxide that remains for a while. Mosquitoes can detect the smell and, like hounds, track it by sensing higher concentrations of carbon dioxide than normal air. Using carbon dioxide, mosquitoes are able to spot targets as far apart as 50 metres.
At close range, mosquitoes take into account many factors that differ from person to person, including skin temperature and clothing color. Scientists believe that the most important variable a mosquito considers when choosing a specific target to bite is the compound produced by the microbiome that lives on human skin. Bacteria convert secretions from human sweat glands into volatile compounds that are detected by mosquitoes’ olfactory systems. These complex compounds are more than 300 different, depending on each person’s genes and environment.
Since we can’t control the microbes on our skin, there’s not much we can do, except wear less black clothing, because mosquitoes like this color best.