PHOTO: Simon Bloackley/Flickr
Rachael Dupree
July 27, 2016

We all know that chickens are good at cleaning up bugs in the run, but now new research shows that the simple fact that they are chickens could keep mosquitoes out of your way for good.

New research published in Malaria Journal found that the malaria-carrying mosquito species, Anopheles arabiensis, not only won’t bite chickens but are repelled by chickens’ odor. Scientists found that the blood-thirsty bugs want nothing to do with four chemical compounds, called volatiles, inside the chicken’s scent. In other words, the chickens smell pretty bad to them, and they steer clear.

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Unfortunately, this particular mosquito species is native to sub-Saharan Africa, meaning that the mosquitoes in your area might not react the same way to your flock. However, scientists are using this info to do further research on how to repel mosquitoes from non-chicken species, like humans, and minimize the spread of malaria. We think that’s pretty cool. Hopefully, it can give researchers on this side of the world some insight on how to prevent other mosquito-spread diseases, like the Zika virus, and discontinue the summer ritual of scratching itchy bites.

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