Whether you opt for repellant, long sleeves or citronella coils, the dreaded drone of a mosquito always seems to find its way back to you. Now researchers say they have found the mechanism behind the insect’s ability to home in on humans. From a report: Humans give off a fragrant cocktail of body odour, heat and carbon dioxide, which varies from person to person and mosquitoes use to locate their next meal. While most animals have a specific set of neurons that detect each type of odour, mosquitoes can pick up on smells via several different pathways, suggests the study, which is published in the science journal Cell. “We found that there’s a real difference in the way mosquitoes encode the odours that they encounter compared to what we’ve learned from other animals,” said Meg Younger, an assistant professor of biology at Boston University and one of the lead authors of the study. Researchers at the Rockefeller University, in New York, were baffled when mosquitoes were somehow still able to find people to bite after having an entire family of human odour-sensing proteins removed from their genome. The team then examined odour receptors in the antennae of mosquitoes, which bind to chemicals floating around in the environment and signal to the brain via neurons.