Mosquitoes are Most Attracted to a Compound That We Find in Dairy Products

Mosquitoes are Most Attracted to a Compound That We Find in Dairy Products

If you’re constantly on the menu of mosquitoes, it might not be because you’re delicious. The reason could be that there are too many dairy products in your house. A new study has found that these insects are most attracted by a compound that we can find in cheese, butter, and yogurt, as Insider reveals.

The new research conducted by the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute and the School of Medicine, along with the Macha Research Trust in Zambia, aimed at the enticing secrets of human body odor and its attraction to mosquitoes. Researchers have used a specially designed facility with a screened cage housing hundreds of African malaria mosquitoes to explore explored the traits in human body odors that appeal to these insects.

Butyric acid attracts mosquitoes the most

The new findings reveal that mosquitoes are particularly drawn to human body odor that has higher levels of volatile carboxylic acids, including a notable presence of butyric acid. Perhaps not everybody knows that butyric acid is also naturally found in dairy products such as cheese, milk, butter, parmesan, yogurts, and cream. Additionally, the compound can even be found in certain fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles.

Conversely, the study showed that mosquitoes were less attracted to body odors that lacked carboxylic acids but were enriched with a compound known as eucalyptol, which is found in tea tree oil and cannabis sativa.

Edgar Simulundu, who is one of the paper’s co-authors, explained for CNN:

This finding opens up approaches for developing lures or repellents that can be used in traps to disrupt the host-seeking behavior of mosquitoes, thereby controlling malaria vectors in regions where the disease is endemic.

By understanding the specific elements that attract mosquitoes, scientists might have the possibility of developing more effective strategies for mosquito control and prevention, ultimately leading to improved methods of combating mosquito-borne diseases like malaria.

The new study was published in Current Biology.

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