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Why do mosquitoes tend to bite some people more than others? According to an American study, the scent of your soap or your shower gel could have something to do with it.

Have you ever noticed that some people are more vulnerable to bites of mosquitoes that others ? We know those pesky mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and the heat we give off when we breathe and sweat. But a new study, published in the scientific journal Iscience, suggests that they also have a preference for certain soaps or shower gels. In other words, depending on the brand of soap you use, you may be more or less attractive to mosquitoes!

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For this study, conducted by researchers from the Polytechnic Institute of Virginia (United States), the scientists selected four soaps from among the best-selling in the United States and analyzed their effect on skin odor profiles and on the mosquito behavioral response Aedes aegypti (main vector of dengue fever, Zika virus infection, and chikungunya).

Mosquitoes don’t like the scent of coconut

They thus realized that theThese soaps significantly modified the olfactory signature of human hosts. And that certain soaps made the “hosts” more attractive for mosquitoes while some make them more repellent. Unfortunately, it is impossible to recommend the use of this or that soap or shower gel to escape mosquitoes, because theEffects vary from person to person due to interactions between these chemicals and each person’s unique smell.

However, based on the statistics of his study, “I would choose a soap scented with coconut if I wanted to reduce the attraction of mosquitoes” points out Clément Vinauger, lead author of the research.

But they like the smell of group 0 people

If mosquitoes are attracted by certain smells, “each mosquito has a very developed sense of smell, and a different perception of the smells that our body gives off”, explains Stéphane Robert, founder of the Vigilance-moustiques site, they would also be attracted by the people in the group. blood O. According to a recent American study, this preference would be due to the fact that the blood of group 0 would be rich in certain proteins that are not found in groups A and B and which female mosquitoes need during the breeding season .

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Source : Soap application alters mosquito-host interactionsiscience, May 2023

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