Have you ever wondered if alcohol affects other creatures the same way it affects people? Maybe you’ve thought about this quite a bit as you sit on the porch sipping your favorite beer.
When a mosquito bites a drunk person, does the mosquito get drunk as well? Does alcohol affect mosquitos at all? And what about weed—can a mosquito get high by biting someone who is smoking?
If you have thought about these things, you’ll be glad to know you’re not the first who has had crazy thoughts like this. In fact, if you do a quick Google search, you’ll find that people all over internet have been wondering the same thing!
So, is it true? Can mosquitos get drunk or high? Do mosquitos care about beer? Some of the answers may surprise you! Read on the learn more about substances and mosquitos.
Are Mosquitos Attracted to Beer?
Oddly, mosquitos seem to like beer just as much as people do—although they would rather get it from your blood than your red Solo cup.
Actually, to be technically correct, mosquitos don’t really like beer itself, but rather people who have been drinking beer.
There are scientific reasons for this. Scientists believe that mosquitos have an easier time locating people who have been drinking beer, thanks to raised body temperatures. Blood-sucking mosquitos are attracted to body heat, and they also appreciate that beer-drinkers’ blood vessels are closer to the surface of the skin.
Additionally, people are drinking beer are a lot less likely to slap at mosquitos, and generally take longer to respond to bites. Someone who is totally intoxicated isn’t very likely to care about mosquitos or bites at all. This gives the mosquitos more time to enjoy drinking blood at their leisure.
Unsurprisingly, studies have found that people who are drinking beer are likely to get a lot more mosquito bites than those who are not drinking beer.
Now that we’ve established the risk that mosquitos present to beer-drinkers, let’s tackle the risk that beer-drinker present to mosquitos. Can mosquitos get drunk?
Can Mosquitos Get Drunk?
This is a fun question to ask, but it seems a bit far-fetched at first glance. Can mosquitos get drunk? Really?
However, this isn’t such a ridiculous question. Some blood-sucking parasites have proven that they can get drink. A 1994 Norwegian study found that leeches can get drunk! While the scientific value of this study isn’t clear, it’s definitely an interesting bit of trivia to use next time you’re trying to impress a date. Just don’t blame us when they don’t want to go out again.
Unfortunately, the leech study wasn’t performed using people who had been drinking beer. The leeches were dipped directly into beer, which they apparently absorbed.
Mosquitos, on the other hand, have not shown any effects when exposed to alcohol. In fact, mosquitos regularly dine on fermented fruit. Most mosquitos actually prefer flowers and fruit to people. Only egg-bearing females suck human blood, which they need in order to pass protein on to their forming offspring.
With all this exposure to alcoholic compounds, mosquitos apparently maintain their balance and inhibitions just fine. And, no, you can’t get a mosquito drunk by getting bit while drinking alcohol.
Can Mosquitos Get High?
Mosquitos can’t get drunk by biting intoxicated people, but can they get high by biting drug users? If this is something you’ve been wondering, you’re not alone.
Although this would certainly be an interesting phenomenon, it’s not possible. Why? Let’s talk for a moment about how drugs affect the human body.
The human body is a very complicated organism, especially compared to the simpler body of a mosquito. The human brain is full of cells called neurons, which communicate using neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters can be affected by foreign substances in the body, which bind to their receptors.
Cannabis and other drugs bind to the receptors and interfere with neurotransmitters, which is how they create the feeling of being high.
Although this works for humans, it’s not effective for mosquitos, and here’s why:
Let’s use marijuana as an example. Cannabis contains THC, which is able to bind to your receptors. It can only do this because it is able to imitate something your body already creates naturally, a type of cannabinoid called anandamide.
When TCH interacts with neurons, it doesn’t do the same thing that anandamide does. The brain’s reaction to TCH posing as anandamide causes people to feel high.
Since mosquitos don’t have the same kinds of brains that people do, they don’t have the same sophisticated features, including these receptors. Thus, it is scientifically impossible for mosquitos to get high—even if they do decide to snack on someone who has ingested weed or another drug.
Unlike people, mosquitos aren’t prone to psychological or physiological effects from alcohol or drugs. Mosquitos like to bite people who are drunk (and presumably high) because they are easy targets, but they don’t get any special sensations from ingesting blood laced with beer or weed.
This is good news for the bugs, but bad for you—if you are around mosquitos while under the influence, you’re setting yourself up as a target for these blood-sucking parasites. This exposes you to not only itchy bug bites, but also the dangerous diseases that mosquitos carry.
In order to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illness, be sure to cover up, wear bug spray, and avoid becoming affected by drugs or alcohol.