Getting ready for bed? Make sure you at least have your pajamas on as Science Daily reports that the malaria-carrying mosquito called anopheles gambiae possesses a heightened sense of smell at night.

According to researchers from University of Notre Dame's Eck Institute for Global Health, this sensory augmentation is caused by odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) that boost the insect’s olfactory sensitivities. These proteins increase in production at dusk, right around the time when these critters search for food.

"Just think, during the day, the mosquito is sleeping and doesn't need to smell you. But when the sun goes down, the mosquito's olfactory system becomes extra-sensitive, and she is ready to smell and bite you," researcher Samuel Rund explains.

Avoid becoming tonight’s dinner by installing window screens to keep insects away. Make sure to wear pajamas to keep your legs safe from insect bites. You can also try natural insect repellents such as those made from neem and citronella leaves or go back to the basics—a kulambo is still one of the coolest ways to keep those pesky bloodsuckers out.

(Photo by missy via Flickr Creative Commons)

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