5-speed listening (Mosquitoes - Level 3)

Your soap might mean mosquitoes bite you more



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Medium (N. American English)



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Mosquitoes seem to like some people more than others. Scientists from the Virginia Tech university in the USA believe the smell of our body could attract mosquitoes. This includes our natural body odour and smells from soaps and perfumes. Some of these smells could also help to reduce the number of bites we get in the summer. The researchers said mosquitoes seemed to prefer soap with a flowery smell. The lead researcher said over 60 per cent of the smells coming from our body come from soap rather than natural body odours. He said that changing the soap we use could change how attractive we are to mosquitoes. Soap with a neutral or no smell could make us less tasty to the creatures.

The researchers tested the effects on mosquitoes of four popular brands of soap. They analyzed the smell of different people after they used each soap, and when they did not wash themselves. The researchers recreated the soapy and unwashed smells and put them in two different cups in a cage full of mosquitoes. The insects seemed to prefer the flowery smells from the soapy cups. Mosquitoes may be like humans because they are attracted by floral and fruity smells. One researcher gave some advice. He said: "I would choose a coconut-scented soap if I wanted to reduce mosquito attraction." Mosquitoes are the world's deadliest creatures. The diseases they carry kill about 725,000 people a year.

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