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Are You a Magnet for Mosquitoes?

If you’ve ever suspected that mosquitoes prefer you over the person sitting next to you on a summer night, it may not be all in your head. Science already shows that for some reason, some people seem to get bitten more than others. Now, researchers are investigating twins’ scents to see what odors specifically are most attractive to mosquitoes, Scientific American reports. Scientists cautioned this won’t be the end-all answer, but will give an idea on what smells influence mosquitoes’ decision to bite.

With mosquito season now in full bloom, it only makes sense that you would want to know whether something about you makes you a mosquito magnet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the science of that is going to be pinned down this year, so the best thing to do is to learn what science does know about protecting yourself from these annoying critters. For example, did you know there’s a natural bug repellant that works better than DEET?

It’s true. Products containing picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus worked better in studies than DEET at repelling insects. Picaridin resembles the natural compound piperine, an essential oil in black pepper. Both eucalyptus and picaridin are natural, while DEET is composed of chemicals shown to harm brain and nervous system function.

Another natural anti-bug option is citronella. Some experts also recommend supplementing with one vitamin B-1 tablet a day from April through October, and then adding 100 mg of B-1 to a B-100 Complex daily during the mosquito season to make you less attractive to mosquitoes.

Other preventive measures include: avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk — especially when sweaty — draining stagnant water sources, planting marigolds around your yard and installing bat boxes. Planting marigolds around your yard also works as a bug repellent because the flowers give off a fragrance that bugs do not like.
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