I know that eating bananas is one way to turn yourself in to a mosquito magnet. The potassium in the bananas apparently attracts them to whomever eats them. Whenever I meet someone who says they always get eaten alive by mosquitoes I ask them if they eat a lot of bananas. The answer is usually yes.

What other foods attract mosquitoes to you? And what foods can you eat that will repel them instead?

  • 3
    Interesting related read Do Bananas Repel or Attract Mosquitoes? Commented Jan 30, 2019 at 15:50
  • We used to feed horses garlic to keep flies and such.
    – Aravona
    Commented Jan 30, 2019 at 15:55
  • People eat bananas. If you ask someone who doesn't get bitten by mosquitoes very often whether or not they eat bananas, they will probably also say yes.
    – Aubreal
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 16:14
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    I am a mosquito magnet. I hardly ever eat bananas. The best way to be free of mosquitos is to marry a mosquito magnet.
    – ab2
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 17:20

2 Answers 2


BBC program The Twinstitute did a test on food to repel mosquitoes, alongside a test to repel mosquitoes by using a mobile phone app.

The result of the test was that neither method did much if anything to repel mosquitoes. If you are in the UK you should be able to see the program in the first half of February 2019 on the iPlayer.

(Possibly it will be available in Youtube as well/later, I did not find it yet.)

  • Their photo on the landing page alone gives me reason to question the credibility of the research of these twins.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Jan 30, 2019 at 18:42
  • 6
    The twins van Tulleken are both doctors, in different fields but GP and research are two they cover among others. The research is much more serious than a single photo indicates. And they do back up the results with other research results in the program. (Not sure if it is also true for this research.)
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 30, 2019 at 18:53
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    The BBC is above all attempting to compete with the likes of other TV channels, Netflix, Prime etc - don't judge them for trying to get viewers from a photo, usually their content is well invested in.
    – Aravona
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 8:47
  • I upvoted the answer, I just think they look like goofballs.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 15:32
  • 1
    @ShemSeger, I think the goofball look is to stop it appearing too intimidating to the average viewer. They do really good stuff.
    – Separatrix
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 12:21

Sure, potassium (and salt) secreted by the skin will attract mosquitoes. However, it's a step removed (ingesting food -> nutrient absorption -> physiology -> mosquitoes) and there are so many variables, so I can't give a direct answer to the correlation of food.

Some research suggests that mosquitoes sense mammals based on the carbon dioxide (CO2) they exhale. So if you're in a state where you emit less CO2 you would be less prone to bites. When burning mostly fat (as opposed to carbohydrates), people tend to produce less CO2 for the same amount of oxygen consumed.

Tangentially, this is supported by this article which mentions research on ketones applied to the skin repelling mosquitoes.

  • Bad news for me then. I have very less fat :/ Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 6:39

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