“There’s no solid evidence that garlic will ward off mosquitoes or ticks or anything else,” says Harvard public health entomologist Dr. Richard Pollack.
There is some truth to the idea that some people are “sweeter” to mosquitoes. The pests are attracted to the carbon dioxide that people breathe out, and your particular body chemistry may play a role. Perfumes and sweet smells, as well as dark-colored clothing, also attract mosquitoes. But Pollack says your best bet to prevent bites is a combination of avoidance strategies, like wearing long sleeves and long pants, staying indoors when mosquitoes are most active (dusk and dawn), and using an effective insect repellant. If they do get you, try not to scratch the bites. “What that does is exacerbate the intensity of the reaction,” he says. “And it also extends the duration of the itching and the swelling.”