Montreal

Wear stripes and other mosquito-dodging tips

It's summer, and that means hanging out outside. Depending on where you are, that could lead to mosquito bites. Here are five tips from an entomologist about how to avoid the insects.

Don't wear black, avoid being out at night among tips from entomologist

Mosquitoes don't produce their own heat but feel very drawn to yours. (CBC)

For some people, a beautiful summer evening can quickly turn sour when mosquitos start feasting on them.

Étienne Normandin, an entomologist at Université de Montréal, said mosquitos are abundant this time of year.

He offers this advice to keep those bugs at bay.

Stick to light colours

Mosquitoes identify humans by detecting their carbon dioxide emissions. Wearing dark colours attracts the sun, which increases your blood flow and in turn increases your carbon dioxide emissions, making you a more attractive target.

Wear stripes

Mosquitoes, as well as horse and black flies, have trouble detecting you when you're wearing stripes, Normandin said.

They'll see a carbon dioxide emission but won't know where to land. Although you should stay away from dark-coloured clothes, black and white or grey and white stripes are OK.

Practise zen

Mosquitoes are drawn to higher carbon dioxide emissions. When you're stressed, your blood flows faster and you emit more carbon dioxide, which means you attract more mosquitoes.

So when you get bitten by one, do your best to keep calm, otherwise more mosquitoes might be on their way.

They need you for heat

Mosquitoes don't produce their own heat, so they rely on the heat of the sun. That works out well when the sun is out — but when it sets, you become their source of heat.

Fire pit smoke

If you are going to be outside when the sun is down, citronella candles can be effective when few mosquitoes are around. But they can't keep away the swarms.

Smoke disturbs their radar and helps keep them away. So opt for a fire pit if possible. And be sure to stay fairly near the flame — as soon as you step three or four metres away, the mosquitoes will be there to greet you.

With files from Cecilia MacArthur

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