8 Reasons Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others
When I was a kid, I ALWAYS got bit by mosquitoes more than other people. My Mom would say “That’s because you got that sweet blood”. Turns out, she was actually right. Mosquitoes do prefer a certain blood type! How you breathe, even what color shirt you’re wearing can also play a big part in mosquitoes deciding to yummy up on ya. Below are 8 reasons mosquitoes bite some people more than others.
Not sure you can do anything about that sweet blood though…
1) Blood Type – Yes, mosquitoes actually DO have a preference when it comes to what type of blood you have. Mosquitoes bite us to harvest proteins from our blood, and Type O blood has more protein than other blood types. About 85% of people secrete a chemical signal through their skin that indicates which blood type they have. So, you might be advertising an all-you-can-eat buffet and not even know it.
2) Carbon Dioxide – Mosquitoes locate their targets by smelling the carbon dioxide emitted in the target’s breath. They use something called a maxillary palp to do this, and can even detect carbon dioxide from as far as 164 feet away! So, the more carbon dioxide a person emits, the bigger target they become. Larger people obviously emit more carbon dioxide, so they usually get bitten more than kids.
3) Exercise and Metabolism – Mosquitoes find lunch at closer range by smelling the lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other substances expelled in sweat. Mosquitoes are attracted to people with higher body temperatures, so if you work out, your body has more lactic acid and probably has a higher temperature.
4) Skin Bacteria – Bacteria that naturally live on human skin affect our attractiveness to mosquitoes. The more bacteria you have built up on your skin, the more mosquitoes will want to get ya. This explains why they tend to bite more around the ankle area – Closer to the feet, naturally more bacteria down there.
5) Beer -This one is a mystery. No studies have figured out why, but mosquitoes are definitely more attracted to people even after drinking only one beer. Not the mosquito, the human. Drinking increases the amount of ethanol excreted in sweat, but can’t be proven if this is why.
6) Pregnancy – Pregnant women have been found to attract twice as many mosquitoes as women who are not pregnant. Pregnant women breathe twice as much AND have a higher body temperature, both of which are attractants to mosquitoes.
7) Clothing Color – Mosquitoes also use sight to seek out victims, so wearing colors that stick out like black, dark blue or red may might be getting you more attention than you want.
8) Genetics – Your genes account for 85% of the variability between people in their attractiveness to mosquitoes. It just comes down to how you’re made. So, unless you’re looking to get genetically modified, you’ll just need to work around it… for now.