Heads Up Minnesota: This Body Wash Might Be A Mosquito Attractant!
Avoiding mosquitoes in Minnesota is a real challenge. Some people just stay inside, while others invest time, money, and effort into ways to keep them away.
Besides being annoying, mosquito bites can cause disease - even in Minnesota and Wisconsin. West Nile Virus and varieties of encephalitis are among the potentially deadly illnesses you can get from mosquito bites.
In exercising every effort to try to avoid getting bitten, you might look for every advantage you can. Recent research points to four specific colors that have been shown to make people less attractive to mosquitoes. Additionally, putting some specific types of plants around your patio or seating space could help ward off the little biting bugs as well.
Adding on to that, how you smell can play a role in mosquitoes being interested (or uninterested) in you. Some research published earlier this year says that fruity or floral-smelling soaps can be attractive to mosquitoes. The research looked at Dial, Dove, Native, and Simple Truth soaps. The research did not, however, say anything about my choice of soap - and it seems like I became a magnet after showering with it!
Within an hour or so of showering with Irish Spring's body wash (the original scented green stuff), I went for a walk out on Duluth's Park Point. Within minutes of getting into the woods, I was swarmed by mosquitoes!
I know some people are just genetically more attractive than others to mosquitoes. While I've never met a mosquito that didn't like me, I've never been swarmed like this! I ended up with well over 20 bites over a short period of time, needing to turn back and just go home.
Unlike the varieties of soap mentioned in the research above, I wouldn't say Irish Spring is floral or fruity in scent. Despite that, the fresh, clean smell was apparently very interesting to a number of hungry bugs. Showering before going on my walk may have been my first mistake, but the next one was not having bug spray with me! If I had some bug spray with me, I may have been able to ride out my walk. I didn't though, so I had to pack it in.
I haven't had the chance to "test" this again for science, but once seemed like enough for me to know that while it might smell good to people, Irish Spring apparently also smells good to Minnesota's state pest.
Just to be clear, I am not trying to pick on Irish Spring. I am not necessarily brand-loyal, but it is one of the varieties I use, and appreciate the scent. It just turns out mosquitoes appear to as well, and I want to share those findings so you can make sure you at least apply some insect repellant before venturing into mosquito spaces after showering with this stuff.
My very informal research seems to indicate it makes people (or at least me) way more appealing to mosquitoes. I probably won't stop using the soap, but I will be taking extra steps next time to avoid getting swarmed.