Summer is Campfire Season

Now that Summer is here are you itching for beers by the fire?  The mosquitoes are counting on it.  We have all been around the fire pit in someone’s backyard or campground with a few of our friends or fellow campers having some sociables and have our fun ruined by an attack of blood thirsty mosquitoes drive us inside.  Well, if you are getting more buzzed than your buddies around the fire, it might be why you are also getting more bites than them also.

Several international studies have linked the amount of beer that you consume to your likelihood of getting a mosquito bite when outdoors enjoying some time with your friends and it is not because those tiny vampires are itching for your boozy blood or is it?

I was once told that mosquitoes bite you more when you’re drinking because your blood is thinner, so they do not have to use as much effort to get it out of you.  I have also been told that because of the spent grains, like barley and hops that are used in the brewing process, are also used to feed livestock and the mosquitoes are attracted to the smell.

Well according to James Heal, a Researcher with the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences, neither of those are correct and he says that, “Alcohol tends to warm your skin and mosquitoes are very attracted to warmth.”

So, throw a little extra heat on yourself with a fire and you have the perfect conditions for a mosquito swarming.

Heal states, “Warmth, that is how they find the landing spot where the blood is,” but that is not the only reason that they come after those that have been drinking.  Heal also says, “Beer is putting out bubbles of carbon dioxide and that’s what attracts mosquitoes to us, because we breathe out carbon dioxide.” Research has shown that mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide from up to fifty meters away.

The additional social behaviors that come along with drinking by the fire such as singing, and dancing also add to the chance of a mosquito bite as the little blood suckers are attracted to movement also.  They are not going to get any blood from the logs around the fire, which will be giving off carbon dioxide and will be warm along with yourself, so they find you by your movement.

These three ingredients all brewed together make for the perfect night out for the mosquitoes and they will also have you scratching more than your head wondering what happened last night.

by Calli Gregg