Stinky Feet and Mosquitos

From Physorg.com. Here is some news we can use. It seems that mosquitos are not only attracted to humans by the carbon dioxide we exhale, but they are also attracted by certain foot odors so they can attack near the ankles. I’ve always wondered why mosquito bites seemed to be concentrated around my ankles. Remco Suer has been doing some research into this in order to manipulate mosquito behavior, especially the species that carry malaria.

Remco Suer started by experimenting on the African , . He knew that prior research had found that human foot bacteria produce about ten separate odors, some more attractive to mosquitoes than others. Suer, who did the study as part of his doctorate in at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, showed that these foot odors are detected by that control smell, which are present underneath hair-like structures on the mouthparts of the malaria mosquito.

Suer tested their in the labratory by pumping additional CO2 into a container to simulate , then added a high concentration of five different foot odors and found that the mosquitoes were unable to react to the CO2 for several seconds. The sole-ful odors actually stopped mosquitoes from sensing CO2 from breathing — which could be a reason why malarial mosquitoes divert when honing in on a person and move instead to the feet at close ranges.

But Suer pointed out that this doesn’t mean people with especially funky feet are more likely to get nibbled on.

“It is not the amount of odors produced, but which particular odors and ratio between them that makes a difference. Finding these odors and their respective ratio’s brings us one step closer to manipulating the mosquito’s behavior.”

They hope to be able to lure mosquitos away using traps with the appropriate odors. Here’s one especially promising line of research;

Kline’s research has taken him to do similar experiments with dirty socks — including a pair he wore for 12 hours per day, for three days in a row.

“We actually got the female mosquitoes to respond to the socks,” he said.

Using the olfactory prowess of the malaria-bearing mosquito against it is a useful trick.

Maybe gym-shoe odors could possibly do the trick.

I wouldn’t mind smelling like an old gym shoe if it kept the blood suckers away.

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