Why Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others
Each summer brings us new insect bites. But not everyone suffers from them. You’ve probably noticed that someone can read a book on a bench in the park peacefully, while the person next to them has to constantly brush off buzzing insects. The fact is that mosquitoes choose who they want to bite.
Studies show that around 20% of people are actually irresistible to mosquitoes. With 5-Minute Crafts, you’ll learn who these insects bite most often.
Why do mosquitoes bite?
Not all mosquitoes bite. Male mosquitoes only feed on flower nectar, while females need protein to develop eggs and multiply, which they find in blood.
Mosquitoes have a long mouthpart (proboscis) that extends far beyond their heads. When a mosquito bites, it uses its proboscis to pierce the skin, drink, and release saliva into our bloodstream.
But these insects don’t bite everyone equally. They bite some people, and almost don’t pay attention to others. Several factors influence the choice mosquitoes make when it comes to who they bite.
When choosing their victim, mosquitoes use their eyesight. They see people at a distance of about 16 to 49 feet. If you wear bright or dark colors (green, black, and red), insects will be able to spot you more easily.
To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, opt for softer colors like pastels, beige, or white.
Mosquitoes are able to not only see you from a certain distance but also to smell you from a certain distance. They can smell carbon dioxide from as far as 164 feet away. And they use an organ called the maxillary palp to do this.
Therefore, the more you breathe, the more attractive you are to a mosquito. Big people exhale more carbon dioxide, so they are more likely to become a victim of these insects.
We exhale carbon dioxide through our nose and mouth, which is why mosquitoes target our heads.
In addition to carbon dioxide, mosquitoes also smell other odors. For example, they can distinguish between lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia, and other compounds emitted in sweat.
Genetic factors also affect the amount of uric acid and other substances expelled by each person. Besides, intense physical exercise increases the buildup of lactic acid in the body.
Natural bacteria also live on our skin. When mixing with sweat, they produce a certain smell.
Some studies show that the types and amount of these bacteria can influence a person’s attractiveness to mosquitoes. Experts divided the participants into 2 groups. In the first group, there were people who were bitten by mosquitoes often, in the other, those who were not. The participants of the first group had more bacteria on their skin. People in the second group had fewer bacteria, but they were more diverse.
Ankles and feet are good breeding grounds for bacteria, and this can explain why these body parts are especially attractive to mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are attracted to people with higher body temperatures. When working out, our body produces more sweat and raises its temperature. So, you can become a victim of these insects after exercising.
It’s hard to believe, but not all blood is equally attractive to mosquitoes. They favor certain blood types.
About 80% of people produce a secretion that signals what blood type they are. Mosquitoes are drawn to them more, regardless of their blood type.
It turns out that pregnant women may be more attractive to mosquitoes. A study showed that twice as many mosquitoes land on pregnant women.
Experts believe that several factors may contribute to this.
- Carbon dioxide. Women in late pregnancy exhale 21% more air than non-pregnant women.
- Temperature. The temperature in the abdominal region of a pregnant woman is about 1 degree warmer than a non-pregnant person.