Once a mosquito magnet, always a mosquito magnet. In a new study published in the journal Cell, researchers have found that these insects are endowed by people whose skin produces certain chemical compounds when smelling. And bad news, mosquitoes stay loyal to those same people over time.
Mosquitoes supplying by the same people
“If you have high levels of this stuff on your skin, you’ll be the one at the picnic who gets all the bites”said study author Leslie Vosshall, a neurobiologist at Rockefeller University in New York.
In order to reach this conclusion, the scientists called on 64 volunteers. They asked them to wear nylon stockings around their forearms to catch their skin scents. The stockings were then placed in separate traps at the end of a long tube, and then dozens of mosquitoes were released.
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Result: the most “big mosquito magnet” was about 100 times more attractive to insects than the last.
“They flew in clouds towards the most attractive subjects, said another study author, Maria Elena De Obaldia. It became very obvious right away.”
These tests were carried out on the same people over several years, and the results remained the same: the people who initially attracted the most mosquitoes are still attracting them years later.
“Mosquito magnets seem to stay mosquito magnets”noted Maria Elena De Gennaro.
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Acids make your skin attractive to mosquitoes
A question arises: why are some people more attractive to mosquitoes than others?
Researchers realize that “largest mosquito magnets” who participated in the study had one thing in common: high levels of certain acids on their skin.
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“These grass molecules are part of the skin’s natural moisturizing layer and people produce them in different amounts.explained Leslie Vosshall. Healthy bacteria that live on the skin eat these acids and produce part of our skin’s odor profile.”
Bad news, “you can’t get rid of these acids without also harming the health of your skin”specifies the scientist
But these new discoveries could make it possible in the near future to find new methods to repel these insects, and no longer be a mosquito skin.
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