Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Material Isolated from Human Hands That Attracts Female Mosquitoes

While researching attractions I came across this article on why mosquitoes find us attractive. From common belief most people believe that this attraction is due to CO2, lactic acid, heat, and moisture which the researchers tested this by having a few set of experiments.

Experiments -
The first experiment used 4 sets of 6 beads which were handled for 10 minutes then allowed to age for 0,15,30, and 45 minutes. Then they observed the attractancy of the beads. Each test was then replicated 16 times. Linear regression analysis was used then to correlate the data.
Next, they tested if they could removed this “attractancy” of the beads by washing them with solvent. They followed the same procedure as before and allowed the beads to drip dry before testing. They replicated these tests 4 times.
The third experiment combined both clean and touched beads which were washed with 10mL of one of five solvent. These samples were tested three times a day with a new population of mosquitoes.
The forth experiment bead were handled and later washed respectively to 100%,50%,25%, or 12.5%. These samples were used for a total of eight test and data points.

In the first experiment they found a direct correlation with the attratancy and the time of aging. The long the beads were let to rest the less attractive they were to the mosquitoes population. Within the second experiment we saw that all five of the solvents were extremely effective by reducing the attraction to the mosquitoes. Which they found similar results in the third experiment as well. Lastly the correlation which they found in the last experiment was what was expected and received a very nice slope to the graphs/data.

I was actually very surprised by this experiment. I thought that it is a very good study because I do want to know why pesky mosquitoes are always there to annoy me. Personally, attractions within any species are fascinating to me. In a case such as this I have noticed that many mosquitoes are not as attracted to me as other people. I never wear bug spray and always seem to be perfectly fine on the hot muggy days in the summer. Personally, I would love to see if certain people are more attractive to mosquitoes. Maybe I am just repulsive to them!

I would like to see research which was based on skin types or colorations. Maybe there is something in people’s genetics that deter such small insects from finding them a tasty meal. Maybe such things as freckles or moles are genetically helpful. Or maybe our psychology and moods help attract mosquitoes. Maybe stress and pheromones send out the dinner bell for such species.


  1. Question is... do pheromones work on humans?
    There's a whole bunch of research on this but I don't think anyone agrees yet. You might want to look into it.