The summer season is a time for being outside, drinking beer, and grilling burgers. Unfortunately, it’s also a time for slapping at mosquitos and loading up on anti-itch cream. You may be surprised to learn that there’s evidence that beer-drinking and mosquito bites are actually linked!
Many people are convinced that downing a few beers will make you more attractive to mosquitos. Is this true? And if so, what can you do about it? Read on to learn more!
Does drinking alcohol repel mosquitos?
You’ve probably heard of “magic foods” that can repel mosquitos if eaten. Have you ever skipped a banana or opted for garlic seasoning in order to ward off mosquitos? As you likely discovered, these methods don’t actually work.
Drinking alcohol doesn’t work as a mosquito repellent. Wouldn’t it be awesome if it did? What a great excuse to grab a beer!
And sadly, it gets even worse. Much to the disappointment of many beer-lovers, some studies have found that drinking alcohol actually makes you more attractive to mosquitos. It doesn’t seem quite fair that you can’t ingest something to get rid of mosquitos, but you can ingest something to attract them.
Does drinking alcohol attract mosquitos?
As much as you may not like to believe it, drinking alcohol is thought to make you more attractive to mosquitos.
According to a Japanese study, people are significantly more prone to mosquito bites after drinking alcohol. During the study, beer-drinking volunteers and a non-beer-drinking test subject were exposed to mosquitos at two different times.
During the first exposure, there was no difference in mosquito bites between the test subjects and the control subjects. After drinking beer, the test subjects received far more bites than the control subject.
So, do mosquitos just like beer? Is a beer-drinker like a bar for mosquitos? Or is there more to it than that?
There are a few reasons why drinking beer makes mosquitos attack you in ever-growing numbers. One of these is that drinking increases your body temperature. Mosquitos use your heat signature to track you down, so a higher body temperature is like a giant target painted on your back.
Secondly, it brings your blood vessels closer to the surface of your skin, making you an easy target for blood sucking.
Third, it may be that beer drinking increases the amount of ethanol in your sweat. Ethanol is very appealing to mosquitos.
Finally, mosquitos are less likely to get slapped by someone who is drinking beer. When you drink alcohol, your reflexes slow down and you don’t feel things as easily. People with no alcohol in their bodies are more likely to quickly respond to mosquitos, so beer-drinkers are also a safer target for mosquitos to land upon.
Basically, drinking beer turns you from a restaurant in a sketchy neighbourhood far away into a safe and cheap pub down the street. Which would you visit, if you were a mosquito?
If all that wasn’t enough, there is actually more bad news for beer drinkers. Not only will you attract mosquitos and be less capable of defending yourself from bites while you drink, but you’ll actually attract more dangerous mosquitos.
There is evidence that drinking beer is especially attractive to mosquito species that carry malaria and dengue.
There is one upside to all of this: if your beer-drinking game isn’t getting you any dates, at least you can rest assured that something is attracted to you when you drink. It’s just too bad that those creatures happen to carry West Nile virus.
Why are mosquito bites a bad thing?
Mosquito bites are annoying, sure, but are they really all that bad? Yes, they are! Whether you are a beer drinker or not, mosquito bites really are bad news.
Across the world, mosquitos carry dangerous diseases. You don’t have to live in the tropics of Africa or South America to be at risk! Even the northern states of the U.S. present a risk from West Nile Virus and other deadly mosquito-borne diseases.
If you are in an area with mosquitos, you need to do whatever you can to prevent bites! Defend yourself against mosquitos, and you’ll be able to enjoy beer all summer long without any worries.
What can repel mosquitos?
Let’s face it: this summer, you’re probably going to get bit by mosquitos no matter what you eat or drink. Enjoy a beer in the evening, and you’ll be even more prone to insect bites!
No matter who you are—unless you’re living in Antarctica—you will need to defend yourself against mosquitos.
There are a few ways to do this. First, make sure your backyard is not a mosquito breeding ground. Who wants to barbeque and booze in a backyard full of bugs? Be sure to make sure there is no standing water in your yard. Dump out buckets, fill in holes, and treat your pond or pool.
Secondly, cover up. Mosquitos can bite through clothing, but they prefer to attack bare skin. Summer time is a time for airy clothing, but it’s a good idea to put a swimsuit cover-up on when you’re hanging out by the pool.
Third, use mosquito repellent. Beer drinking may be attractive to mosquitos, but they certainly aren’t interested in a beer-drinker who is covered in DEET! Invest in a can of DEET spray and keep it handy all summer—especially if you are going to drink in your back porch.
Although drinking beer makes you more prone to mosquito bites, there is good news! You can easily combat these pests by taking the proper precautions. Cover up and use DEET spray, and you’ll be able to enjoy your beer in peace.