How Not To Be a Mosquito Snack
My first introduction to nutrition being a deterrent for mosquitoes was in my teens at summer camp. One of my camp councilors (we will call him Matt) would brag every year that the mosquitoes would not touch him. And they didn't. All summer long Matt would swim, attend campfires, and enjoy life in the wooded outdoors then leave at the end without a bite. The rest of us would be scratching our itchy, welted arms and legs as we reeked of OFF! bug repellent. One night we were outside our cabins with a nice roaring campfire going and Matt decided to share his secret with us, so we too could benefit from mosquito free summer camp in the future. What was the secret? Nutrition. He claimed that several months before coming to camp he would cut out sugar from his diet, and greatly increase his intake of greens. Salads for dinner, salads for lunch. According to Matt this made the blood bitter and less tasty to the mosquitoes. While I don't see any scientific evidence supporting Matt's theory of salad protection it seemed to work for him, and there are certain foods that have been shown to encourage mosquito bites. Here are a few you can either add or subtract from your diet to lessen your tastiness.
1) Beer. Just a single 12 ounce bottle makes you a more likely target for mosquitoes. While Japanese studies have proven that beer makes one a more likely host than without the beer, they aren't sure why yet. Some theory are the increase in body temperature (in that case other alcohol would also affect this), others think they might just like the alcohol buzz, or maybe they just enjoy the flavor. Either way if you want to avoid mosquitoes it is probably best to skip the brew while enjoying the out doors.
2) Lactic Acid. Lactic Acid is created with strenuous activity (a simple shower after exercise can help here) but it can also be created through certain foods we eat. As lactic acid is a mosquito magnet it makes sense to take note of what we are eating to produce it. Potassium rich foods such as bananas, potatoes and spinach can increase your lactic acid. Also salty foods can emit lactic acid.
3) Apple Cider Vinegar. Mosquitoes do not like the way apple cider vinegar tastes or smells and taking it internally can actually change the odor of your sweat. Drinking very small amounts of vinegar diluted in water may be helpful. Some use this as a spray on repellent but DEET products and lemon eucalyptus oil products have been shown to be most effective against mosquitoes.
4) Cut back on sweets before heading into mosquito territory, also avoid sweet smelling perfumes as the scent can attract insects.
In the end it is more about avoiding triggers than eating any specific food for it's magical bug repellent qualities. While Matt's techniques worked for him, it may have been more about what he avoided than what he ate. So stay off the beer and use a good DEET or lemon eucalyptus repellent. Then contact Flatline Pest Control for help in getting your yard free and clear of mosquitoes for the best protection possible.