Mosquito Magnets: what makes you a target

First confirmed case of West Nile Virus in Kansas

MISSION HILLS, Kan. - State health officials say an Atchison County adult is the state's first reported case of West Nile in Kansas this year.

If you ever feel like you're being targeted by mosquitoes you're not alone. Some people are more frequent meal tickets for mosquitoes.

The pesky bugs are out biting but they're much worse this year compared to last.

Paul Friedrichs installs and maintains misting systems that ward off mosquitoes. He said our area has many conditions to increase mosquito activity.

"It's kind of been perfect conditions for them. A lot of rain, a lot of standing water, temperatures kind of going up and down and there's a lot of vegetation as well; when the vegetation grows it gives them somewhere to nest, so they're here," Friedrichs explained.

The threat of West Nile and an annoying itch send people indoors.

"They just like to sit outside and have dinner at night and they were not able to do that. I've had people tell me they've literally never sat on their back porch and had dinner in the summer," he said.

According to the Smithsonian Institute, 20 percent of people are targeted by mosquitoes. Researchers have identified key activities, characteristics and products that attract the pests. These "mosquito magnets" include:

  • Beer
  • Exercise
  • Pregnant women
  • Type O Blood
  • Dark Colored Clothes

Friedrichs said his customers complain about this all the time.

"Generally I'm talking to a husband and wife and the wife will say oh the husband always gets bit or the other way around," he explained.

Misting systems like the ones Friedrichs sells have to be installed and are on the higher-cost end, starting at around $1500. There are some cheaper more temporary solutions as well.

Last year, Kansas had 57 reported cases of West Nile virus, the most cases since the virus first was found in the state in 2002.

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