The data are in: You’re stinky. But don’t worry — mosquitoes really dig it. And they’ll stop at nothing to get a whiff of your unique cocktail of body odor.
In fact, new research published in Cell Press found that these vampiric pests have evolved olfactory systems with contingency plans for just about everything to make sure they can still locate humans based on their B.O.
And yes, these biological “contingency plans” succeed in pretty much every scenario — including when a group of researchers tried to knock out an entire group of odor-sensing receptors from the mosquito genome, in hopes they would lose interest and fly somewhere else.
Despite their efforts, mosquitoes’ fail-safes have made it so they can always smell us. All it takes is our odors hitting the air to stimulate the receptors in mosquitoes’ antenna.
Then, like an updated GPS system that puts its outmoded competitors to shame, the mosquito is locked, loaded and on her way to make us her next meal.
Researchers say the mosquitoes’ attraction to humans is so strong that any future mosquito control efforts need to factor this into the equation.
Also noteworthy: Skeeters aren’t the only ones with these olfactory fail-safes.
A similar mechanism has been observed in the incorrigible fruit fly, with the caveat that their super-sniffing abilities tend to home in on the brown bananas still sitting in your fruit bowl.
So how can you protect yourself from these savvy, bloodthirsty sniffers?
Until we outsmart them, the old ways are best: Long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks. Tuck your shirts into your pants and your pants into your socks.
And hope all that extra coverage keeps the insects from getting a good whiff.