You might have noticed how mosquitoes seem to bite you while ignoring others? There is no question that some individuals are more attractive to mosquitoes due to chemicals they secrete from their skin and from their particular skin flora. Research revels that the two most compelling factors of mosquito attraction have to do with sight and smell.
You have type O blood
So it’s little surprise that some blood types may be more desirable than others. Research has found, in fact, that people with Type O blood are found to be twice as attractive to mosquitoes than those with Type A blood; Type B people were in the middle. “Type O individuals may share a propensity for exuding certain odors that mosquitoes find attractive,” suggests Conlon.
Heat and sweat
Mosquitoes apparently have a nose for other scents besides carbon dioxide; they can sniff down victims through the lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other compounds emitted in sweat. They also like people who run warmer; a hot sweaty human must seem quite delicious to them – couch potatoes, rejoice.
Female mosquitoes (the kind that bite) have a thing for carbon dioxide. Special nerve receptors help them detect the gas in the environment. What does that have to do with your baby bump? A 2002 study published in The Lancet found that women in the later stages of pregnancy (with a mean gestational age of 28 weeks) exhale 21% more CO2 than their non-pregnant peers. The researchers speculated that this physiological difference could help explain why the pregnant women who participated in their experiments attracted twice as many mosquitoes. (Because itchy welts are just what you need in your third trimester.) But CO2 may not be the only reason you’re suddenly more appealing: It could also be that pregnant women emit volatile odors that draw the insects, says Laura Harrington, PhD, a professor in the department of entomology at Cornell University.
Who knew mosquitoes had a taste for beer? The little lushes. In one study researchers found that significantly more mosquitoes landed on study participants after drinking a 12-ounce beer than before. The scientists figured that it was due to increased ethanol content in sweat and skin temperature from consuming the brew, but they were unable to find the exact correlation, just that it happened. “But how widespread that phenomenon is truly remains unclear,” she said.
Your genes make you more attractive
Research on identical and fraternal twins suggests that an underlying genetic mechanism may affect whether you get eaten alive in the deep woods, or escape relatively unscathed. Scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine reported that certain people produce natural mosquito repellents, a trait that appears to be genetically controlled.
Do mosquitoes love you? Have you found good ways to keep them away? The simplest way, albeit uncomfortable in the heat, [to avoid bites] is to place a barrier between the skin and a day-biting mosquito—that is, long sleeves and long pants. “Even better protection is to apply an effective mosquito repellant to such clothing.”