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Smelly Socks Make Great Mosquito Bait

Smelly Socks

The next time your significant other complains about your stinky socks, just tell them you're doing scientific research!

Yes, what you're doing is research because you're simply following in the foot-steps of an international research team from Austria, Holland, and Africa.

In a nutshell, Bart Knols and his team, discovered that mosquitoes love the smell of stinky feet -- including smelly socks.

When they built a trap with dirty socks in it, the disease carrying insects chose that odor over any other, including carbon dioxide and ammonium. You see, mosquitoes find blood through smell. And somehow, our unique scent attracts them, no matter how faint.

So, Knol reasoned, a key to keeping them away is to find something smellier for them to stick their proboscises into. And what could be smellier than a pile of well-worn socks?

Knols thinks foot odor holds the key to effective mosquito traps, especially in areas where malaria is a big problem. His research could save thousands of lives. He's now working to isolate the chemical, or chemicals, responsible for what we call smelly feet.

Script by Andrew Porterfield
Copyright 2007, Catalina Island Conservancy

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