Expert shares whether gin and tonic can repel mosquitoes – try CLOAK method

Professor says alcohol makes you more attractive to mosquitoes

Gin and tonic has been previously recommended as a mosquito repellent because of the quinine in tonic water.

Considered a potent deterrent, some have argued that tonic could help keep the bloodsuckers away.

If an idyllic summer evening with a compulsory G&T sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is, according to bite prevention expert Howard Carter.

Carter said: “Quinine is not a repellent, so the quinine in gin and tonic is not a repellent. 

“It does offer a certain amount of protection against malaria. 

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“However, there are so much better anti-malarials now, people should not even think about using gin and tonic to repel mosquitoes or to help protect against contracting malaria.”

While quinine won’t keep the annoying insects away, the alcohol in your G&T could worryingly lure them in.

“Ingesting alcohol can often increase your attractiveness to mosquitoes and other insects,” Carter added.

Don’t just take the expert’s word for it, as research, published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, also warns that alcohol consumption “significantly” increases mosquito attraction.

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Looking at 12 men and one woman between the ages of 20 and 58, the research team measured alcohol content in the sweat of participants who enjoyed a 350-millilitre beer.

The scientists also looked at the sweat production and the skin temperature of the volunteers before and after the alcoholic drink.

Unfortunately for alfresco drink lovers, the findings showed that those who drank the beer had a higher percentage of mosquito landings.

“This study shows that persons drinking alcohol should be careful about their increased risk to mosquito bites and therefore exposure to mosquito-borne diseases,” the researchers concluded.

Although G&T won’t deter the pesky insects, Carter recommended an approach that should see your risk of bites fall.

The expert said: “Try my CLOAK method for effective bite prevention, at home as well as abroad.”

Carter recommended the following steps for keeping mosquitoes away:

  • C – Cover up arms and legs with suitable clothing
  • L – Light coloured clothes are strongly advisable because mosquitoes are attracted to dark ones
  • O – Odours, bodily or scented washing products and perfumes are strong attractants. So, wash ideally with citronella soaps, shampoo and shower gels or non-fragrant ones
  • A – Apply an effective, preferably natural, insect repellent. You should look for DEET and PMD
  • K – Keep away from stagnant water and other mosquito dense areas if possible.

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