Mosquitoes Bite Because of Your Smelly FeetS

According to the research of one Remco Suer, mosquitoes might somehow be attracted to the bacteria in your sweat-soaked feet. That means finding a way to isolate these odors could reduce their nuisance and even slow the spread of disease.

Suer worked with the African mosquito Anopheles gambiae, one of the primary vectors for the spread malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, and tested them against the smells in his lab:

Suer tested their sense of smell in the labratory by pumping additional CO2 into a container to simulate human breath, then added a high concentration of five different foot odors and found that the mosquitoes were unable to react to the CO2 for several seconds. The sole-ful odors actually stopped mosquitoes from sensing CO2 from breathing — which could be a reason why malarial mosquitoes divert when honing in on a person and move instead to the feet at close ranges.

That's pretty cool news. Keep in mind, though, that A. gambiae is only one variety of mosquito that is reacting to a specific cocktail of smells. How mosquitoes like Aedes aegypti that spread West Nile might respond in different ways. Still, there's at least promise in knowing what the effects of bad breath and a set of funky feet can do for your summertime health. [PhyOrg, Photo via Shutterstock]