Why it's so hard to make a better mosquito repellent


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then instead of repelling them, why don’t we make strong attractors, something stronger than us, and then when they go to it we can make that thing kill them.

But first make them suffer a little bit.


Nature’s bringer of death: Mosquito


There are plenty of ways to kill mosquitoes. The Gates Foundation, for instance, tested genetically modified mosquitoes that only laid infertilized eggs. Populations quickly dropped.

The problem is that wide use of anything that kills mosquitoes could devastate the food chain and lead to a lack of beneficial organisms (like bats).


For me, that thing is my wife… I can go an entire evening without a bite while she gets a dozen in a few minutes.


Have they considered tiny autonomous drones with kilowatt lasers?


I’m glad someone is doing serious research into an alternative repellents. DEET works but is nasty stuff, anyone who’s done any long distance backpacking knows it will melt plastic. Currently none of the all-natural repellents seem to do much-- I met a guy on the Appalachian Trail who was slathering himself with some all natural stuff made from “exotic rain forest ingredients”, and when I ran into him again a few days later he looked like he had chicken pox-- there were so many bug bites on him, literally at least one every square inch.


Maybe Dr. Vosshall should do some research into dietary habits, particularly the eating of meat.

Before I became a vegetarian, I used to get eaten up horribly by mosquitos every summer at our lakehouse in Minnesota. It was awful.

But since becoming a vegetarian many years ago, I am almost never bitten. In the last 25 years (since becoming a vegetarian), I can literally count on one hand the number of times I’ve gotten mosquito bites, while the meat-eaters around me seem to get bitten excessively.

I know correlation does not equal causation, but here’s three other people on Yahoo answers who claim the same thing: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100719201806AAbd6Lk

Admittedly this is all anecdotal, which is why it would be nice if there were some scientific investigation into whether giving up meat might cause mosquitos to avoid someone.


Tiny autonomous drones that suck blood from mosquitoes. It’s only fair.


This. I love going to the cottage with my one friend, she is the attractor, they leave us alone when she’s around. (When she’s not around, its me, dammit!)


My wife got a taste of the good life last year… We were on a arboretum tour and there was a group of three sisters that seemed to attract every skeeter in the area (I think that my wife got away with just one bite).


I have tried eating garlic while backpacking, and didn’t notice much difference (I was eating 3-5 cloves a day), plus on most of my long distance hikes I almost never ate meat (or at least no “actual” meat, just occasional chicken flavoring in some pasta sauces), and also didn’t notice a difference.




But how does that explain the people that do eat meat that the mozzies never bite?


I remember that. I also remember rubbing in some 98% DEET stuff, and realizing after a few days that all the gunk on my arms were dead mosquitoes. The nice thing about highly concentrated DEET is that you can apply it once and it works all week. The immediate downside is that when you apply that stuff you get a metallic taste in your mouth that persists a week or two. Long-term, it’s probably carcinogenic.


the ted talk is pretty interesting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnSKrzmpKGw


I don’t know! I’m not making any definitive claim to anything. I’m just relating my personal experience and suggesting that there might be some possible causation. I can’t say anything else other than being a vegetarian is great anyway :slight_smile:

PS here’s another article I just found on Dr. Vosshall’s work, which includes this line:

This summer, she’s been approached by vegans who claim mosquitoes leave them alone.


Thats a great article, but that quote is slightly out of context, she’s not saying that vegans are less attractive to mosquitoes, she’s saying its one of the list of things tell her about mosquitoes;

“She’s spoken with people who say that before they became pregnant, mosquitoes loved them, but after, they were ignored, and visa versa. She spoke to one person convinced that his appendectomy made him less attractive. Another who thinks his blood pressure medication lessened his appeal. This summer, she’s been approached by vegans who claim mosquitoes leave them alone. That mosquitoes are more attracted to people who drink beer is one of the few things we know with some degree of certainty, she says, though we don’t know why. Everyone has a mosquito story they want to tell her…”

It is interesting though. Why do they like some people more? And why do some people react more than others?


I doubt that a vegetarian or vegan diet will make much difference. The places that have the nastiest mosquito populations are traditionally places where the dietary habits rarely include much meat. The prevalence there of mosquito-borne diseases would seem to indicate meatless eating doesn’t matter to a mosquito.


Ah, right you are! Well, I honestly have no idea if there’s a connection between the two, but when you go from dozens of mosquito bites, year after year, to virtually zero, year after year, it does make you think, “How did that happen,” you know?