If you’ve ever suspected that you are irresistibly attractive to mosquitos, then you are not alone. Some people think that they are paranoid, due to the fact that mosquitos are only attracted to them among a group of people. Despite the belief that you are alone, studies show that 20% of people are most attractive to mosquitoes. Factors such as body odor, carbon-dioxide, metabolism, blood type and body heat can all cause mosquitoes to naturally gravitate more towards you than others. Here, we are listing some of the reasons why they seem to track down some people and not others and what you can do to prevent them from coming for you.
Not surprisingly, studies show that mosquitos are attracted to people with Type O blood nearly twice as often as those with Type A.
For decades, we have known that mosquitos are attracted to people based on their blood type. Studies finally assure us that this is in fact true. A study published in the National Library of Medicine shows that mosquitos have a preference based on the type of blood. During the course of the study, subjects were placed in a controlled environment and mosquitos were released. Researchers then observed the mosquitoes and discovered that they landed twice as often on individuals with Type O blood, than those with Type A. At the same time, people with Type B blood fell in the middle.
Additional studies also revealed that 85% of the subjects were also secreting a chemical signal through their skin, which the mosquitos were using to sense the subjects. Despite the fact that the subjects whose bodies were secreting the chemical signal had different blood types, mosquitoes preferred them over the 15% whose bodies did not. (source)
Another genetic factor that might determine mosquitoes’ attractiveness to you is your metabolic rate, or the amount of carbon dioxide that your body releases as you burn energy.
In order to help us get through the day, our body uses different methods to provide the fuel needed by the muscles. The higher a person’s metabolic rate is, the higher the carbon dioxide they produce. Mosquitos use carbon dioxide to zoom in on their subjects and if you are someone who produces a lot of carbon dioxide, then mosquitos will find you attractive. The effect also doubles when you are working out, which causes your muscles to produce lactic acid.
When you are jogging, hiking or simply walking outdoors, it makes it easier for mosquitos to find you since you are moving. Additionally, body temperature also plays a huge role. The higher a person’s body temperature, the more likely they are to be attractive to the pesky pets. (source)
Wearing fruity, floral scents and fragrances will also make you attractive to them.
Some people think that using fruity, floral scents to mask body odor will hide them from mosquitos. Studies show that using perfumes and fragrances actually add to the pests’ attraction, unless you are using Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Eau de Parfum; which was found to be repel mosquitoes better than top mosquito repellents on the market. According to one study, the best insect repellents are those that have at least 15% DEET, a chemical which helps ward off the insects. Apart from that, mosquitos are also extremely active during dawn and dusk, when the humidity levels are highest and the winds are calm. Experts suggest using a powerful fan near you to increase wind speed around you, making it hard for mosquitos to maneuver around. (source)
They also rely on skin bacteria and the color of your clothes to determine whether you are a target.
According to Jonathan Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida, there are two main reasons why some people are mosquito magnets, and they involve sight and smell. Day explains that mosquitoes are “highly visual,” especially in the late afternoon hours. So, during this time period, they go for what is easily visible for them. If you are someone who prefers dark colors, including blue, red, or black, you would become an easy target. Moving around wearing such colors can especially be troublesome since they are able to understand that it’s a human being. According to Day, wearing light colors and breathable fabrics when hiking, running and biking can help avoid detection. (source)
Other studies also show that the types and volume of bacteria in the human skin can also have an influence on the rate of attractiveness. In a 2011 study, scientists discovered that those with large amounts of bacteria on their skin were more appealing to mosquitos than those who didn’t. This is one of the reasons why they prefer our arms, legs and feet since there are robust bacteria colonies around those areas. (source)
Your genes also play a huge role which dictates your blood type and the chemical makeup of your birthday suit.
Despite the smell, color and blood type, genetics also has a huge role in determining whether you are like-able to mosquitos or not. Several studies show that genetics account for 85% of our susceptibility to mosquito bites. High concentrations of certain chemicals and hormones on the surface of the skin also becomes a major factor. According to John Edman, PhD, mosquitos also target people who produce excess amounts of certain acids, such as uric acid. Such acids heighten their sense of smell, causing the mosquito to land on the unsuspecting person. (source)
Alcohol can also make you attractive to mosquitos.
A study published in the National Library of Medicine found out that alcohol ingestion stimulated mosquito attraction. The 2002 study conducted on 12 men from 20 to 58 years old and a 24-year-old woman was carried out by measuring ethanol content in sweat, sweat production, and skin temperature before and after ingestion of 350 ml of beer. At the end of the study, researchers discovered that the volunteers who consumed the beverage attracted mosquitoes significantly more than they did without consuming the drink. However, scientists were unable to correlate mosquito landings with body temperature and ethanol excreted in sweat, which makes it harder to understand the exact reason as to why it happens. (source)