E. Texas professor debunks mosquito myths - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

E. Texas professor debunks mosquito myths

Mosquitoes are not attracted to certain blood types, but are attracted to standing water and carbon dioxide. (source: KLTV News staff) Mosquitoes are not attracted to certain blood types, but are attracted to standing water and carbon dioxide. (source: KLTV News staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

As the mosquito population grows with the summer heat, so do the myths about attracting and repelling mosquitoes.

Several smartphone applications claim they can repel mosquitoes, but UT Tyler biology professor Dr. Blake Bextine said these apps are not backed by science.

"Sometimes mosquitoes are attracted to sounds, so these apps that you download could actually do harm. The studies on this show that mosquitoes were drawn in by this," Bextine said.

Another myth regarding mosquitoes is that they will bite you more often based on your blood type.

"So, there's no real indication that blood type has any impact on your attractiveness to mosquitoes," Bextine said.

Bextine said that particular study about blood type attracting mosquitoes did not have an accurate sample size, and has since been rejected by the scientific community. Mosquitoes are actually attracted to carbon dioxide and humid environments, and these insects breed in standing water.

When it comes to what you can do to protect yourself from mosquito bites, draining standing water and using spray repellents is key.

"If you have to be out at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most prevalent outside, definitely put on products that contain DEET," Bextine said.

And pet owners also need to be careful. Mosquitoes can be carriers of heart worms, so be sure to clear mosquito breeding grounds when letting your pet outdoors.

"Avoid having pets out when mosquitoes are at their highest flight times; at dusk and dawn," Bextine said.

Mosquito Control Services in Tyler have also been spraying to help control the mosquito population.

Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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