In the second part of our series on the two most common mosquito species in the Charlotte area, we are discussing the Culex pipiens or the house mosquito. Unlike the asian tiger mosquito we talked about in the first part of the series, the house mosquito is most likely to be out around dusk. They tend to feed on both birds and humans and are known to carry West Nile virus.
Unlike other species of mosquitos, the Culex pipiens is most attracted to Nonanal mixed with carbon dioxide. Nonanal is a compound found in birds and humans and is commercially made for perfumes. When we exhale, the CO2 mixes with the Nonanal and sends out a beacon to the mosquito. This is a fairly new discovery and could lead to new ways of controlling mosquitos. Since it is a new discovery, researches aren’t sure if people who emit more Nonanal or less Nonanal are susceptible to being bit. We also emit natural repellents and researchers aren’t sure if those who are more susceptible just simply aren’t producing enough repellent.
The best way to avoid attracting the common house mosquito is to keep grass and weeds cut and avoid containers that hold water. Wearing tightly woven clothing like synthetic fibers and athletic apparel can help block bites. Getting your backyard sprayed regularly is also a great way to prevent mosquitoes from taking over your outdoor space!