Why is it that you can be outside in the evening with friends and they emerge unscathed while you end up polka dotted with pink, puffy mosquito bites? What is it about you that is so attractive to those blood-sucking, disease-carrying critters?
Studies show that certain humans—at least 20% of them—are especially attractive to mosquitoes. Several factors determine whether mosquitoes will be drawn to one person over another. Mosquitoes use sight and scent to find their human prey, meaning that the way you look and smell will be critical in whether or not you act as an attractive blood source. Some of these are factors you can control, while others (such as blood type and breathing rate!) are a bit more challenging.
Here are some of the contributing factors that make mosquitoes more attracted to certain people:
Adult female mosquitoes need blood in order to produce eggs and some human blood types are more attractive than others. These mosquito-attracting people who emit certain compounds through their skin are known as “secretors”. People with Type O blood are often secretors and may be doubly as attractive as people with Type A blood. Of course, it’s not something you can control but it should encourage you to be proactive about your mosquito control efforts.
When you’re hot, you tend to produce sweat that contains a number of smelly chemicals. Lactic acid, ammonia, uric acid, and other compounds are emitted through sweat, especially when strenuous exercise is involved. Wearing light colored clothing and trying to stay cool in the hot weather may help ward off mosquitoes.
Because mosquitoes use the presence of CO2 to find their targets, the more you breathe out the more likely they are to find you. People who are exercising strenuously emit more CO2, as do people who are sedentary but overweight. Anyone with a higher resting metabolic rate will be more attractive to mosquitoes and should take precautions.
Bacteria on the skin, when combined with sweat, emits an scent that mosquitoes can pick up on. Bacteria is what causes sweat to smell, acting as an attraction to mosquitoes, so be sure to keep your body clean and dry. Avoid perfumes, scented body lotions, hair spray, and other scented products that might draw the attention of these blood-sucking pests.
Probably related to the fact that mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, pregnant women are bitten by mosquitoes almost twice as often as non-pregnant people. This is likely due to the fact that pregnant women carry extra weight, breathe more quickly, and exhale more often.
Since these critters use sight to find their victims, people who are wearing dark colors are easier to spot at dusk when mosquitoes are most active. In addition, dark colors make you more likely to produce heat. Dress in light colors to keep yourself cool in the summer and prevent detection by mosquitoes.
Read More: Why are Mosquitoes Attracted to Me?
Scientists have suggested that drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages may cause an increase in body temperature or possibly an increase in the ethanol content of the sweat. In either case, limiting alcohol intake and using protective mosquito spray while outdoors can help minimize your chances of mosquito attraction.
While some of these are factors you can’t change, you do have options related to mosquito control. Protect yourself with personal mosquito spray containing DEET and consider using professional mosquito control for your living or working environment. For residential, community, and commercial pest control in Houston, contact Cypress Creek for the safety and well-being of yourself and those around you.