It’s always you, isn’t it? The person busy swatting away buzzing backyard mosquitoe or nursing an arm full of itchy red lumps after a weekend camping trip.
You’re not imagining it – mosquitoes really are attracted to some people more than others.
Why does a mosquitoe need blood?
Only female mosquitoes bite. They do it for the nutrition contained in blood, which helps develop their eggs.
Another that prefers humans are the Anopheles mosquitoes, responsible for spreading the parasites that cause malaria.
How does a mosquitoe find us?
Whether we’re picked out of a crowd may come down to heavy breathing and skin smell.
When they need blood, a mosquitoe can pick up on the carbon dioxide we exhale. Around the world, carbon dioxide is one of the most common “baits” used to attract and collect mosquitoes. If you’re exhaling greater volumes of carbon dioxide, you’re probably an easier target for mosquitoes.
More than anything else, though, it’s about the smell of your skin. Hundreds of chemicals are sweated out or emitted by our body’s bacteria. The cocktail of smells they create will either attract or deter mosquitoes.
It’s not just who they bite but where
Mosquitoes may also be more attracted to our feet: studies have shown cheese sharing similar bacteria to that found between our toes attracts mosquitoes!
What can you do about it?
Remember, it only takes one mosquito bite to transmit a pathogen that could make you sick. So whether you’re a mosquito magnet or feeling a little invisible because you’re not bitten so often, don’t be complacent and use insect repellents.