Why Mosquitoes Love to Bite Our Feet and Ankles

Mosquitoes seem to find a way to our skin no matter what we do. Covered in repellent and clothing? They’ll still find a tiny spot you didn’t catch, and they’ll attack it with glee. And with the rise of mosquito-transferred diseases like the Zika Virus, understanding the behavior of mosquitoes has never been more important. Mosquito protection is something we should be aware of all year long.

Have you ever noticed a mosquito bite on your foot after a summer barbecue? Or that your ankles and feet are covered with red, itchy welts while your arms and face are relatively untouched? Keep reading to learn why mosquitoes are so attracted to your feet and ankles.

Your Feet Stink

One big reason mosquitos bite your ankles and feet more than in other places is because of strong odors. Smelly feet can attract these pests — but that’s just one component.

Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide because its presence indicates that there is something living and breathing nearby. To a mosquito, living and breathing means a yummy blood lunch. So when mosquitoes smell the carbon dioxide you emit, they head in your direction — they can even sense it from more than 30 feet away.

Interestingly enough, the area emitting carbon dioxide isn’t the area where mosquitoes bite — how often have you been bitten on your mouth? Rather, they use the carbon dioxide to find you, and then they keep smelling to find the best place for their dinner.

Since our feet make higher numbers of stinky bacteria than other areas of our body, mosquitoes can quickly understand there’s a tasty treat not too far away. Additionally, mosquito bites on your feet tend to itch more because the skin there is more sensitive, and the bites might be aggravated by rubbing against our socks, clothing and shoes.

But Why Not the Armpit?

There are plenty of other places on the body that don’t always smell too lovely (armpits, for example). So why do mosquitoes single out stinky feet? One obvious explanation is that our feet are often uncovered and exposed, which makes them an easier target. This is especially true in the summer when we often go barefoot or wear sandals.

It’s also possible that mosquitoes have grown to realize that they are more at risk the closer they get to the face or arm — areas where you can easily swat them away. Feeding from the feet increases their chances of survival because you can’t reach them as easily.

Your feet might also be closer to the areas where mosquitoes frequent. For example, they love still water — a stroll by the pond presents the perfect opportunity for them.

How to Prevent Mosquito Bites

So, you should just wear lots of perfume to mask the smell of your stinky feet, right?

Wrong. Mosquitoes can smell a diversion. In fact, they can smell right through a diversion. Perfume won’t keep the mosquitoes away. You have to actually block their receptors, which is what the chemical DEET does. Using a repellent with DEET generally hides you from mosquitoes’ sniffers. Other repellants recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency include:

  • Picaridin
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Para-menthane-diol
  • IR3535
  • 2-undecanone

Remember, mosquitoes are a threat in all weather conditions, not just on rainy days — the best way to prevent bites is preparation. Make sure you’re not letting any mosquitoes into your house through holes in the screens or open doors. If you’re going camping, apply 0.5% permethrin to your tent, shoes and other equipment. Wear long sleeves, pants and close-toed shoes when outdoors, and avoid scented lotions or sprays.

Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard

Nothing ruins an evening outdoors like a swarm of mosquitoes. Here are some tips to keep your yard free of these pests:

  • Remove standing water: It’s important to keep standing water out of your yard since that’s where mosquitoes breed. Empty or cover any receptacles that could hold moisture when not in use, like buckets, rain barrels, dog bowls and children’s swimming pools. Repair or fill holes in trees and septic tanks.
  • Install yellow lights: While they won’t repel mosquitoes, swapping your outdoor lights with yellow ones won’t attract as many pests to your yard.
  • Use barriers: Barriers like screens and nets are a great way to continue enjoying nature while providing a protective barrier against mosquitoes and other insects that may try to bite or infiltrate your space. Moving wind, such as outdoor fans, may also help.
  • Identify and kill larvae: Remove larvae as soon as you spot them. You might find them as eggs floating in rafts on top of stagnant water. If they’ve already hatched, expect to see a narrow neck and a segmented abdomen.
  • Plant proactive landscaping: Plants like citronella, peppermint, cedar, catnip, lemongrass and others could help keep mosquitos at bay. Plant them around your property, especially near areas of frequent infestation.

The South Hampton Tick Method

For even better peace of mind (and lack of itch!), hire a mosquito control company for protection. Professionals can identify high-risk areas and implement the perfect combination of bait and repellent formulas to stop the problem at its core. Barefoot Mosquito & Pest Control uses the most gentle and effective method for keeping mosquitoes out of your yard. Here’s what our process looks like:

  • Reduction: We’ll target mosquito populations on your property to kill large volumes of them with each treatment. Multiple treatments may be necessary, depending on the size of the area and extent of the infestation.
  • Barriers: We’ll implement strategies and treatments to reduce the risks of re-infestation for long-lasting results.
  • Inspection: Our team of experts will walk your property to identify potentially problematic areas and develop a plan for remedying them. This ensures the long-term success of the treatments applied and minimizes the chance of attracting additional pests.
  • Sterilization: Our biological sterilization pellets target mosquitoes at all stages of life to prevent growth and reproduction. They are permissible for use around pets and aquatic life.

We can work through a myriad of conditions, including before and after rainfall. You can even add additional services — like flea, chigger and tick prevention — for a small fee. Call today to discuss how we can create a wall-like barrier around your yard and eliminate potential mosquito breeding spots.

Say Goodbye to Mosquitoes With Help From South Hampton Mosquito & Pest Control

If you’re ready to take back control of your outdoor living space, we’re here to assist with our professional mosquito control services. 

    You can also request a quote online, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

    Add a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *