Ultra-prolonged activation of CO2-sensing neurons disorients mosquitoes. It’s hard to hide from a hungry mosquito: the insects home in on their human targets by detecting body heat, carbon dioxide, and odors. Repellents containing DEET ward off mosquitoes and other bugs, but until recently (pdf) no one knew why. Some research indicated that mosquitoes smell and avoid the insect repellent DEET. (pdf) Armed with the knowledge that carbon dioxide (CO2) present in exhaled air is the most important sensory cue for female blood-feeding mosquitoes.... [more inside]
Western tourists (mostly female) visiting Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, and Bali) are ending up dead, likely poisoned. Local officials have blamed the use of the insecticide DEET as an exotic ingredient in so-called "Bucket Drinks", or the use of Chlorpyrifos in hotel rooms. But Deborah Blum, an author and poison expert, doesn't buy into the insecticide theories offered by local officials. She thinks this looks like targeted murders. Since writing about the poisonings, she says she's been contacted by people who claim poisoning foreigners is common in 5-star hotels, and the police and owners cover it up.. A Facebook group was formed not only so that world travelers could share safe travel tips, but also so that notice of the unexplained, and often uninvestigated, deaths could be made public.