Are You a Mosquito Magnet? Blame Your Blood
If you’ve ever suspected that you are irresistibly attractive to mosquitoes, you might not just be paranoid. Mosquitoes are drawn to all kinds of physical particularities, from smelly feet— which they flock to — to the carbon-dioxide and body heat that those with higher metabolisms throw off. Yep, that means kids and the naturally lean are more likely to be nibbled on.
But a little-known fact is that mosquitoes are also attracted to one blood type over all others. People with Type O blood were found to be twice as attractive to skeeters than those with Type A blood in a Japanese study. Interestingly, mosquitoes can taste, via skin secretions, what blood type we are before they suck any blood, which is what enables them to find their favored blood type.
The good news? You can repel mosquitoes naturally in a variety of ways. One easy way is by choosing different clothes. Mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors (black and navy blue) and alight less frequently on light colors like white, khaki and pastels — all popular summer colors. Perhaps mosquitoes have evolved away from landing on lighter colors because they can be seen — and slapped at — more easily. Mozzies are also most active at dawn and dusk, so if you avoid being outside during those times, (or stay in a screened-in porch, one of my favorite ways to beat the bugs) you can avoid them fairly easily.
Leaving spiders alone (with their webs intact) is another great way to reduce skeeters in your neighborhood; mosquitoes are a favorite food for arachnids and get easily stuck in their webs. A single bat can also eat hundreds of mosquitoes of an evening, so consider installing a bat box to encourage bats to live near your home, and they will feed on all the pesky biting bugs.
There are also plenty of delicious-smelling natural, nontoxic essential oils that repel mosquitoes. I use a combination of lavender, tea tree oil and a touch of citronella, which keeps the buzzing menaces at bay. Occasionally, a mosquito gets through the haze of scent and gets me, but it’s summer after all. A bite here and there reminds me that we live in a world inhabited by many, many other creatures — some of which want to eat us.
By Starre Vartan, MNN.com