Ever notice how mosquitoes seem to feast on some people while ignoring others? There are lots of theories about why some of us are more prone to bites than others. And while scientists don’t yet have a cure for the ailment, they do have a number of ideas why some people are particularly attractive to mosquitoes.
It’s all about the blood for mosquitoes. Research has found that people with Type O blood are twice as attractive to mosquitoes than those with Type A blood. About 85 percent of people secrete a chemical signal through their skin that indicates which blood type they have, while 15 percent do not, and mosquitoes are also more attracted to secretors than nonsecretors regardless of which type they are.
Mosquitoes have a thing for carbon dioxide. Special nerve receptors help them detect the gas in the environment. One study found that women in the later stages of pregnancy 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. They also discovered that the abdomens of pregnant women were 1.26°F hotter, adding to the mosquitoes-like-warm-bodies component.
Heat and sweat
Mosquitoes apparently have a nose for other scents besides carbon dioxide. They find victims at closer range by smelling the lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other compounds emitted in sweat. Also, the more perspiration and the older it is, the greater the buildup of lactic acid, meaning you’re a tasty meal. If you’re sweating profusely, your higher body temperature may play a role too. Warmth becomes more attractive as mosquitoes approach a potential host.
In one study researchers found that significantly more mosquitoes landed on study participants after drinking a 12-ounce beer than before. Researchers had suspected this was because drinking increases the amount of ethanol excreted in sweat, or because it increases body temperature.
Your genes make you more attractive
Underlying genetic factors are estimated to account for 85 % of the variability between people in their attractiveness to mosquitoes—regardless of whether it’s expressed through blood type, metabolism, or other factors. genetics and our chemical/microbial mix determine whether we are going to be bitten by mosquitoes or not.