Are You Attracting Mosquitoes With Your Scent?

Jun, 2023 - by CMI

Researchers explain why insects are attracted to you

Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences researchers believe some soaps attract mosquitoes. Pests appear as temperatures rise. Some buy insect repellents but don't get bit. Clément Vinauger, an assistant professor of biochemistry and co-principal investigator on the proof-of-concept study, said, "Someone who already attracts mosquitoes more than the average person could make that attraction stronger or weaker just by changing their soap scent." Four researchers tested how soap attracts insects. In a news release, researchers assessed each person's smell profile before and after washing with Dial, Dove, Native, and Simple Truth soaps.

Vinauger believes almost 60% of what you smell after washing is soap, not body odor. Vinauger said, "The other thing is that it doesn't just add things to our body odor; it also replaces some chemicals while getting rid of others that are washed away." Soap and body chemicals seem to interact. Researchers gave mosquitoes a choice of unwashed or washed human scents in a net case with two cups of order extracts to explore how smells interact. Vinauger added, "This way, we can really measure and quantify how the soap affects the person in terms of making them more or less attractive." "There we discovered that volunteers react differently to soaps." Three soaps attracted insects, whereas one repelled them. All soaps smelled like fruit or flowers. Coconut-scented ones degraded beauty. Research suggests coconut-scented soaps repel pests.

Vinauger said, "That was very interesting to us because there is other evidence in the literature that increasing certain fatty acids, like those found in coconut oil derivatives, could serve as an insect repellent." Researchers will add people and different soaps to the learner to comprehend this.  Vinauger said, "It's important to try different soaps because our research shows that your natural smell and the soap you use together are what really matter." We must determine their duration. Deodorants, laundry detergents, and other scents may contribute.

iScience reported mosquito soap synergy on May 10, 2023. USDA and NIFA financed some studies.