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Saturday, May 28, 2022
Home Technology You may be able to hide from mosquitoes by avoiding the color...

You may be able to hide from mosquitoes by avoiding the color red


Kiley Riffel

If you’ve ever felt like a street lamp on a humid day, endangered by mosquitoes that seem to be obsessed with you, you may want to reconsider your wardrobe.

According to a paper published Friday in the journal Nature Communications, after getting a whiff of human breath, the troublesome leeches scan the perimeter for victims by determining certain colors: red, orange, black and cyan. You’re probably better off draping yourself in shades of green, purple, blue and white.

“Imagine you’re on a sidewalk and you smell pie crust and cinnamon,” said Jeffrey Riffel, a biologist at the University of Washington and senior author of the study. said in a statement. “It’s probably a sign that there’s a bakery nearby, and you might start looking around for it. Here we started learning what visual elements mosquitoes look for after smelling their own version of a bakery.”

Rifle and other researchers tested how mosquitoes react to different colors after being exposed to carbon dioxide – which we exhale every time we exhale. The team first placed Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes in small rooms, which are known to transmit dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and Zika virus. Females were chosen because, unlike males, they are the vampire-y who ruin tropical holidays by feasting on our blood.

To begin with, the crew watched the animals in cage respond to stimuli such as colored dots in the absence of odors. Basically they do not. Then the researchers repeated the process with a syringe of CO2. In that iteration, with synthetic human breath, the mosquitoes were very attracted to red, orange, black and cyan, but did not blink an eye when it came to green, purple, blue and white.

But mosquitoes may not analyze colors as you might assume. Scientists are not sure that the bugs can “see” color as we do – similar to how we can not “smell” CO2 as they can. However, the colors to beware of all have an objective commonality: longer wavelengths on the visible spectrum.

This brings us to some bad news.

Human skin, regardless of pigment, emits long wavelengths similar to those of red-orange shades. “One of the most common questions I get asked is ‘What can I do to stop mosquitoes from biting me?'” Riffel said. “I always said there are three major clues that attract mosquitoes: your breath, your sweat and the temperature of your skin. In this study, we found a fourth clue: the color red, which can not only be found on your clothes. but is also found in everyone’s skin. “

In fact, Riffel also experimented with that bit by placing a human hand in a CO2-heavy mosquito cage with and without a green glove. Sure enough, the green glove was enough to function as a disguise, leaving the bugs uninterested.

There is also some bittersweet news. Female mosquitoes can be kind of “color blind” in the presence of CO2 if their genetics encode such a trait. The team says, for example, that there is a mutant strain of the bugs that cannot “see” the glorious, long wavelengths.

Thumbs up, the next time you try a bold red lipstick or an all-black-all look, you will either encounter a mutated threat or just one that is unaware of the irritating odor of your breath.



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