Mosquito Magnet May 05 2016
This is a question posted time and again to my Instagram & Facebook pages - 'why do bugs like me so much?!' The truth is there are a number of factors that contribute to your nibble-ability (my term). There are a number of great articles explaining the most recent findings but the main points are:
- Genetics: As a whole, underlying genetic factors are estimated to account for 85 percent of the variability between people in their attractiveness to mosquitoes—regardless of whether it’s expressed through blood type, metabolism, or other factors.
- Blood type (you do not want to be an O - sorry folks). One study found that in a controlled setting, mosquitoes landed on people with Type O blood nearly twice as often as those with Type A.
- Carbon dioxide: One of the key ways mosquitoes locate their targets is by smelling the carbon dioxide emitted in their breath—they use an organ called a maxillary palp to do this, and can detect carbon dioxide from as far as 164 feet away
- Exercise and metabolism: Mosquitoes find victims at closer range by smelling the lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other substances expelled via their sweat, and are also attracted to people with higher body temperatures. Because strenuous exercise increases the buildup of lactic acid and heat in your body.
- Skin bacteria: particular types and volume of bacteria that naturally live on human skin affect our attractiveness to mosquitoes...this also might be why mosquitoes are especially prone to biting our ankles and feet—they naturally have more robust bacteria colonies.
- Pregnancy: In several different studies, pregnant women have been found to attract roughly twice as many mosquito bites as others, likely a result of the fact the unfortunate confluence of two factors: They exhale about 21 percent more carbon dioxide and are on average about 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than others.
Great article from Smithsonian.
Another good read: webmd.com