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semnae

Why are mosquitos attracted to monkey grass?

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My back yard has a horrible mosquito problem. Under close analysis, I have identified them as Asian Tiger Mosquitos (Aedes albopictus). There is no standing water that I can find anywhere near the yard. There is no place that I can find for the mosquitos to lay their eggs. The nearest possible location is a drainage ditch several city blocks away, and it seems strange that the mosquitos would fly so far from their breeding ground to be in my yard, while the houses immediatly next to the ditch do not have problems with mosquitos.

 

Stranger than that, is that the yards immediately adjacent to my back yard do not have mosquitos. While trying to figure out why they are attracted to my yard, and only my yard, I made a remarkable discovery. The mosquitos very densly swarm around the Monkey Grass (Liriope muscari and Ophiopogon japonicus) I was using as a garden liner!

 

After a little research on mosquitos, my hypothesis was that the males, which don't drink blood and feed on nectar, are attracted to the monkey grass inflorescences. The females are then attracted to the males, and attack me when I step out into my back yard.

 

My hypothesis failed because the mosquitos are just as attracted to the monkey grass with all the inflorescences removed. This leads me to think that there is some other quality about the plant that is attracting the mosquitos.

 

I could just remove the grass and solve the problem, but monkey grass is extremely difficult to remove, and I am really very curious as to why these mosquitos are so attracted to this particular plant. This knowledge could also prove useful in the creation of new, more effective mosquito lures. Any ideas?

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