Why You’re a Mosquito Magnet, According to Science

Mosquitos have lived on earth for around 170 million years, with over 3,000 species identified throughout the world today. With such impressive numbers, it would be logical to assume that mosquitos simply attack the closest human they can find.

In fact, research is revealing that mosquitos are downright picky when choosing who to bite. It turns out there are many reasons why mosquitos target certain people over others.

Scientists believe that 85 percent of your overall attractiveness to mosquitos is based on your genetics. Unfortunately, you canít change your genes.

But, you can arm yourself with knowledge. The following information can help you narrow down why you might be a mosquito magnet and ways to prepare for your next outdoor adventure.

Skin Bacteria

The bacteria on your skin have a lot to do with how you smell. In fact, human sweat is odorless to other humans if no bacteria are present.

Certain chemicals released by bacteria are what make body odor. And each person has their own unique bacterial mix, which creates their own personal scent.

Itís been found that mosquitos are attracted to certain bacterial scents more than others. Which means, if you naturally have more of those bacteria on your skin, mosquitos will pick you out of a crowd.

Also, certain mosquitos prefer different smells from different parts of your body. Some mosquitos will bite your feet or hands, whereas others go straight for areas like your groin or armpits.

Genetics play a significant role in what types of bacteria live on your skin. There may be other factors that influence your skin microbiome as well, such as diet, although research hasnít determined exactly what yet.

The best way to keep your delicious scent hidden from attackers is to use strongly scented bug repellants and to cover up with clothing made with tightly-woven fabrics.

Related: 7 Ways to Repel Mosquitos Without Putting Anything on Your Skin

Blood Type

Mosquitos are shown to prefer people with Type O blood. Before they take a bite, mosquitos can taste your skinís secretions to determine your blood type. This allows them to easily select their favorite victims.

Type B blood is their next favorite, and Type A blood is their last pick.

Carbon Dioxide

Mosquitos are attracted to carbon dioxide. They have specialized receptors that can detect a carbon dioxide source from over 50 meters (164 feet) away. This is not good news for humans because we exhale carbon dioxide whenever we breathe.

This also means anyone who produces larger amounts of carbon dioxide is at a greater risk of being bitten. Evidence shows that people who are larger, such as those who are tall or overweight, will naturally produce more carbon dioxide.

You also produce more carbon dioxide when you exercise, so watch out when youíre gardening, jogging or doing any other outdoor activity.

Using a fan nearby can help break up your exhaled carbon dioxide trail and also physically throw a mosquito off course.

Heat

Mosquitos typically bite where blood is closest to the surface, like your forehead, elbows, wrists or neck. They use your bodyís heat to hone in on the best locations.

Be careful during and shortly after exercising. Your body is hotter overall at these times and could attract more mosquitos.

Pregnancy

A Sudanese study found that pregnant women are nearly twice as likely to be bitten compared to non-pregnant women. Researchers suggest this may be due to specific pregnancy-related substances that are released in your breath and skin.

Pregnant women also naturally produce more carbon dioxide and their body temperature is higher, which could add to their mosquito attraction.

Related: 7 Interesting Facts About Mosquitos

Beer Consumption

A small study showed that mosquitos were significantly more attracted to people who had recently drank beer.

Participants had their attractiveness to mosquitos measured before they drank either one liter of beer or one liter of water. Their attractiveness was measured again 15 minutes after the drinks, which is long enough for alcohol to be present in your blood, breath, urine and sweat.

Researchers did not know why beer made you more of a target. They suggested it may have to do with chemical changes in your blood or body odor.

The beer the participants drank was only about 3 percent alcohol. Research needs to be done to determine if stronger alcohol will make you even more attractive.

Sweat

Lactic acid is a key component of sweat, and itís shown to attract mosquitos. In addition, sweat that has ďagedĒ for a day or two has been found to be even more appealing to mozzies.

Researchers suggest that day-old sweat has higher amounts of natural bacterial growth from your skin. The smell from the bacteria is likely what attracts mosquitos in higher numbers.

So, make sure you shower after periods of exertion and sweating. It will help keep the bugs away, and perhaps even better, will also improve your popularity with people.

Related
8 Natural Mosquito Repellants
6 Natural Remedies for Mosquito Bites
12 Dangerous Bugs You Donít Want to Mess With

319 comments

David C
David C2 days ago

thanks

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Gino C
Gino C3 days ago

Thank you

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Jetana A
Jetana A8 days ago

Over the years I've developed a certain degree of tolerance for mosquito bites. I'm grateful!

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Berenice Guedes de S√°

Thanks for sharing!!!

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Dot A
Dot A10 days ago

... give them credit, even if they're not very cute to us humans. :+)

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Dot A
Dot A10 days ago

... and they've gotten the chemical combat thing going rather well for themselves, too. Got to give them

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Dot A
Dot A10 days ago

The sweeter the bite when the victim is also high in sugar, so I've heard. Makes a lot of candy eating kids a prime target. Keeping the skin scrubbed seems to be a bit of a discouragement, but, these little critters are just trying to survive, as much as we are, and they'll go for it if that's what they need. Survival is built into every living thing. Apparently, the cockroaches are the most successful, and they've gotten the

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JoAnn Paris
JoAnn Paris13 days ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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heather g
heather g15 days ago

My skin reacts badly to mosquito bites. I do have one of those portable fans for when I work in my veggie garden.

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Heather T
Heather T16 days ago

I am never bitten by Mosquitos and to a certain extent by midges even Abroad with mosquitos, maybe because of my blood group which is very rare.A1B Rhesus Negative

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