Mosquito bites top list of most annoying parts of summer: poll

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By Dan Sears

Mosquitoes top the list as the most annoying part of summer, new research suggests.

A recent survey of 2,000 adults revealed more than a quarter (28%) said that mosquitoes are the most frustrating part of the summer months, with sweating and excessive heat tied for second (27%). 

Bugs are a real nuisance for many. So much so, people would rather stand in an outdoor ticket line for hours (49%) or spend a month without social media (44%) than be covered in bug bites. 

Beyond pesky insects, summer brings other woes. More than eight in 10 people (88%) will get sunburnt an average of 2.5 times, with only 12% of people typically not getting sunburnt at all.

It’s no wonder that more than seven in 10 (71%) feel like they can’t make the most of summer because of seasonal frustrations.

Commissioned by OFF! and conducted by OnePoll ahead of World Mosquito Day on August 20, the study also revealed people are still willing to brave the summer heat for cookouts (34%), picnics (34%), festivals (34%), camping (33%) and watching the sunrise or sunset (32%). 

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However, many “always” or “often” regret their adventures because of insect bites (40%) and sunburn (35%). Respondents considered themselves regularly pestered by mosquitoes (53%), flies (51%) and ticks (39%).

Bug bites seem to get the best of Gen Z, two-thirds (66%) of whom “always” or “often” wish they hadn’t partaken in their activity of choice due to the uncomfortable aftermath.

People seem intent on avoiding a repeat of past experiences, with more than half (59%) previously canceling or moving plans because they had bug bites — including 74% of Gen Z respondents.

While there are several factors that may help explain why some people are mosquito magnets, respondents guessed the top factors included their perfume/cologne (48%), sweat (47%), sunscreen smell (41%) and diet (41%).

“Mosquitoes are attracted to body heat and lactic acid, a substance your body emits when you sweat – especially during those hot summer months,” said Dr. Tom Mascari, an entomologist with SC Johnson’s Center for Insect Science. “They are also drawn to the carbon dioxide we expel while breathing and can find even the smallest areas of exposed skin. To help prevent mosquito bites, choose an insect repellent that fits your needs and your situation, and make sure any repellent you use contains active ingredients tested and proven to repel mosquitoes, like DEET or picaridin.” 

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While people are inclined to prepare for outdoor summer activities by putting on sunscreen (53%) and insect repellent (49%) before heading outside, the study revealed that it’s not a daily occurrence. On average, people use insect repellent and sunscreen only three days a week.

“Along with sunscreen, incorporating insect repellent into one’s daily routine in the summer months could mean the difference between making summer memories at the beach or lake, or staying home,” Dr. Michelle Henry, board certified dermatologist and OFF! partner, added. “Prevention is the best protection against mosquitoes. That’s why it’s important to apply bug spray right after sunscreen and before heading outside as a part of your everyday routine – if insect repellent is applied after you start to get bit, it may already be too late.”

Most frustrating parts of summer

  • Mosquitoes – 28%
  • Sweating – 27%
  • Excessive heat – 27%
  • Stickiness/Humidity – 24%
  • Increased number of people in my usual area – 22%
  • Higher utility bills – 21%
  • Sunburn – 21%
  • Higher travel prices – 19%
  • Excessive air conditioning – 19%
  • Lack of shade outside – 19%
  • Pressure to do something – 18%
  • Ticks – 17%
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What would people rather do than be covered in bug bites?

  • Stand in an outdoor ticket line for hours – 49%
  • Spend a month without social media – 44%
  • Spend a month without internet access – 41%
  • Walk around in sticky clothes for a day – 39%
  • Commute to work all summer – 39%
  • Experience sunburn – 29%
  • Work on a weekend – 25%
  • Have the air conditioning go out in your home – 11%
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