What attracts them?

There seems to be no convincing result about mosquitoes liking a particular blood type. However, other factors, like a person’s genetics and even diet, play a bigger role in how “delicious” a person tastes.

Mosquitoes appear to be selectively target people based on their skin microbiota. Microbiota refers to the bacteria that naturally reside in or on the human body. Our skin alone is home to over 1000 different species of bacteria.

Researchers have found that the presence and abundance of certain species of bacteria were correlated with a person’s attractiveness to mosquitoes. Interestingly, the combination of volatiles that are considered ‘attractive’ may differ based on the species of mosquito.


Who transmits malaria?

A 1996 study in the journal Trends in Parasitology found that female mosquitoes from the genus Anopheles, which are responsible for transmitting the malaria parasite, were attracted to the bacteria on human feet. This bacterium, Brevibacterium linens, is the same one that gives Limburger cheese its distinctive smell. A follow-up 2013 study in the journal PLOS One confirmed that mosquitoes are, in fact, attracted to Limburger cheese.


Are they attracted to our head?

That buzzing you hear from a mosquito is likely to be from a female. That’s because the male typically hang out and sip on the nectar of flowers. The females, however, need to find a blood meal in order to have enough energy to produce eggs.

We may readily perceive mosquitoes buzzing around our ears, but most mosquitoes are not attracted to our heads. Rather, these bloodsuckers may be more inclined to seek out our feet, which sport bacteria that give off mosquito-enticing aromas. However, most people probably don’t notice a mosquito buzzing around their ankles.


How to avoid mosquitoes?

To avoid mosquitoes, your best bets are to wear clothing that is light-coloured and long, apply insect repellent and steer clear of mosquito hotspots (wetlands, for example) at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, Live Science previously reported.


Largest link chain from pencil graphite

An Indian man, who picked up miniature carving as a hobby five years ago, broke a Guinness World Record when he carved pencil graphite into a chain with 212 links.

M. Manoj, an assistant professor in Kerala, carved the 17.7-inch chain of freely movable links from a pencil, using surgical blades.

“I did not use any adhesives to attach the links. The major constraint I faced was the number of links I could carve in a single pencil and hence I used two pencils to carve the 212 links. Connecting the links of two pencils was a problem, but I solved it by making a crack on the last link,” Manoj said. He worked for about four hours a day for a month to complete his chain.

His chain broke the Guinness record set by Taiwan man Lee Chien Chu, who carved 168 links from a graphite pencil.

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 5th, 2021

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