Just came across this brief article (actually it’s a blog entry) from yesterday’s New York Times revisiting the ever-popular summertime topic, what do mosquitos really want?

Not surprisingly, as with most everything in life, there are consequential pros and cons in approaches for escape and relief, although I suppose they’re all subjective. So, in my estimation, this is how they break down:


  • Exercise is a triple threat: it boosts body temperature, lactic acid, and CO2 in the breath, all attractive to our little bloodsucking friends; better to take it easy.
  • There is some evidence that mosquitos are attracted to darker colors, so be thankful that their sieges coincide with the summertime fashion season.
  • Citronella, eucalyptus and soybean oil are all nearly as effective repellents as DEET-containing compounds (they just need to be used more frequently).


  • Drinking alcohol makes you more attractive to mosquitos.
  • Mosquitos are quite possibly attracted to darker colors, bad news for those who must be noir-hip at all times.
  • Drinking alcohol makes you more attractive to mosquitos.


  • Garlic and vitamin B tablets have no effect.

So what’s the take-out lesson? If you’re going to be outside, the best thing to do is relax and look cool in your seersucker pantsuit. The worst thing to do is to run around in your überchic black dress, drinking martinis.