Can’t control the mosquitos at the cottage? Try putting down your beer.
It turns out drinking beer can actually make you more vulnerable to mosquitoes. But these bugs aren’t looking for a little extra buzz—according to multiple international studies, it has a lot to do with alcohol’s physiological effect on your blood vessels.
Alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate, moving blood closer to the surface of your skin. As James Heal, a researcher with the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences, points out, mosquitoes are very attracted to warmth.
“That’s how they find the landing spot where the blood is,” he told CTV News.
In fact, according a study conducted by Japanese researchers, drinking a single beer made people more susceptible to bites. But the temperature of your skin isn’t the only reason you’re more likely to get bit with a beer in hand—alcohol can also lead to more boisterous behaviour and mosquitoes search for movement.
“I mean, they don’t want to suck on a rock. They’re not going to get any blood, right?…so they find you by your movement,” Heal says.
The fact that beer is carbonated only makes things worse. Beer puts out bubbles of carbon dioxide, which mosquitoes can detect from up to 50 metres away. As most people know by now, mosquitoes track us through the carbon dioxide we exhale. That also means that you won’t fare much better with other carbonated drinks, like cider or sparkling wine.
The good news is, if you’re dancing on the deck with a beer in your hand, you’re a lot less likely to notice all the mosquitoes that have landed on you—at least until those itchy welts pop up on your skin Monday morning.