Tired of mosquito bites at night? You may want to rethink wearing dark-coloured clothes to avoid attracting mosquitoes.

A city-based sample study has now added a few more possible ways in which one can avoid mosquito bites.

The study — conducted by the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Tamil Nadu — has found that persons who have a bath before going to bed and those who eat garlic with their dinner are less prone to mosquito bites.

The IPHA studied two mixed groups of 100 persons each — both identical in terms of age group, gender and occupation — from across the city, including Pulianthope, Anna Nagar, Mogappair, Porur, Adyar, Teynampet, Chromepet and Tondiarpet. The study commenced in September 2013 and ended in February 2014. In its dusk-to-dawn sample collection, the study found these areas had presence of Anopheles stephensi mosquito species that transmit malaria, and the Armigeres and Culex species of mosquitoes too.

“We had a set of questions to collect baseline data. Our entomology wing took mosquito samples from these areas and studied the type of species, density of mosquitoes, mosquito resting and blood meal status,” said S. Elango, president of IPHA-TN chapter.

Those who had a bath before going to bed did not attract mosquitoes, while those who consumed alcohol ended up getting bitten, he said, citing the study’s findings. “We also found that persons who added garlic to their dinner escaped mosquito bites,” he said.

There are microbes on the skin that produce different types of chemicals. These mix with sweat result in odour, and that is what attracts mosquitoes. Possibly, a bedtime wash, use of garlic and alcohol can produce difference to this odour, he said.

“During the chikungunya outbreak in 2006, we did a study and found mosquitoes are attracted to persons wearing dark-coloured clothes, especially dark blue, green and black.

This left us thinking why only some persons get vector-borne diseases,” said Dr. Elango, who was then the director of public health for Tamil Nadu.

The small sample size is a limitation of the study but the IPHA plans to approach the Indian Council of Medical Research to take up a collaborative study on a bigger scale, he said.


  • There are microbes on the skin that produce different types of chemicals

  • These mix with sweat and produce odour, which attracts mosquitoes