Although mosquitoes may be bad this summer, new research is revealing how they are able to find humans and other animals so easily. This research reveals that mosquitoes may find a human through a variety of means, including smell, sight and heat. Understanding this research may lead to a solution for a problem with mosquito bites.
In order to determine how mosquitoes found a warm body, they were watched inside of a wind tunnel. When a CO2 plume was released, the mosquitoes were instantly drawn to the area. This reveals that mosquitoes may first find a host by smelling their breath as it was released.
It was also noted that mosquitoes were drawn to a black spot when CO2 was released. And finally, warmth played a factor in attracting mosquitoes but only at close distances.
Previous research had shown that mosquitoes did use a sense of smell in order to find their next victim. This new research, which was published in Current Biology added to the existing research and may help to further show how mosquitoes are able to find victims easily.
One of the primary ways that mosquitoes are able to find a host is by smelling CO2. It is estimated that they may be able to smell CO2 from up to 50 m away. In addition, body odor may also be a contributing factor in their choice of host, once they hone in on one.
It appears as if mosquitoes use a combination of smell and sight in order to find and choose a host. When a black spot was included with the CO2 plume in the wind tunnel, they were attracted to it. When the CO2 was not in the wind tunnel, they would ignore the black spot. This shows that mosquitoes use both sight and smell, although they may only use sight after they are able to smell the CO2 release.
Further research is necessary but understanding more about the mosquito may be able to provide an answer to one of summers biggest problems.