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Q: I heard the mosquito expert on your show. Is it true they are attracted to certain blood types?

A: Elmer Gray, UGA Entomologist and public health specialist, joined my show this month, and we had a great time together. Who knew we could talk mosquitoes for almost an hour and a half, but we did! What a universally relevant topic during these hot months.

I prepared a list of common things shared about mosquitoes, and I challenged Mr. Gray to confirm the facts or bust the myths.

-Is it true that standing water and old tires attract mosquitoes? YES- “This is where mosquito larvae develop.” Eliminating standing water is the first step to interrupting their lifecycle.

-Are female mosquitoes are the ones who bite? YES- “They’re getting a blood meal to stimulate egg production. Males typically feed on nectar.”

-Speaking of females, do I get bit more than my husband because they’re attracted to my lotion/perfume? NO- “It has more to do with physiology. Pregnant women are most attractive to mosquitoes.”

-Are mosquitoes more attracted to dark-colored clothing? YES- “Wear light-colored, lose-fitting clothing, and you’re less attractive to them.”

-I have a citronella plant and lemongrass on my patio. Do plants keep them away? NO- “Research shows that these plants don’t release the citronella. Mosquitoes even hang out on the plants. You’re better off using an EPA approved repellent such as oil of lemon eucalyptus or DEET.”

-Zika, West Nile and Malaria all sound pretty scary. What do I have to worry about here in the U.S.? YES and NO- “West Nile continues to be the biggest concern of the three in the U.S. Peak season begins in mid-August. Zika was never a huge concern for us in Georgia.”

-Does my blood type influence whether mosquitoes are more attracted to me? YES- “Type O seems to have a little bit higher level of attraction than the others.”

-I was leery of mosquito dunks. I’ve heard they work, but what about safety for fish in my pond and birds that visit my birdbath? YES- “Dunks have no mammalian toxicity. In fish ponds, mosquito populations are kept in check because fish are good predators. For bird baths, easy to just dump and refill those once or twice a week.”

**Listen back to this entire show HERE. Scroll to “On Demand” and look for “Hours 2 and 3″ of show 6/22/24.

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