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Factors That Attract Mosquitoes

Updated on August 12, 2016

Introduction

Most of what is shown in the studies of mosquitoes show that there are some very important factors that seem to attract them. A lot of these factors are not things that you can change but are instead things that you should be aware of.

It has been reported that about 20% of the population attract more mosquitoes than the other 80%. The two primary ways that mosquitoes find people are through sight and smell. Sight is actually very prominent and is mostly used later in the afternoon. They seem to be more attracted to people in darker colors – black, navy blue, and red for example. Once a mosquito finds a target it then uses its sense of smell to analyze your carbon dioxide production (and other things). This is the second indicator on whether she wants to bight you or not. The second indicator will be the primary subject in this article because a lot of the time it is not something you can control. You can always put on a lighter color shirt to prevent mosquitoes from finding you but you cannot change your blood type!

Blood Type

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Blood Type:

The type of blood that you carry under your skin is actually a very important thing to a female mosquito. Studies have shown that people with Type O blood are bit almost twice as much as someone with Type A, while Type B fell in the middle. Based on your genes about 85% of people secrete a chemical through their skin that indicates their blood type. Regardless of what blood type you are, if you secrete this chemical it is another attractant for mosquitoes.

Carbon Dioxide:

People with higher metabolic rates, larger people, and pregnant women are producers of the highest levels of carbon dioxide. This is a huge reason why you might get bit instead of the person next to you. The female mosquito relies heavily on her ability to sense carbon dioxide (using maxillary palps to do so) and can detect a suitable prey from as far as 160 ft.

Sweat:

There are a lot of chemicals that are emitted from your skin when you work out and they are huge attractants to mosquitoes. One thing (that is discussed below) is that your body temperature does rise when you work out. Also, you tend to expel more carbon dioxide while working out. Aside from those two points your body builds up more lactic acid; and release uric acid and ammonia which are attractants to mosquitoes.

Body Temperature:

Again, this goes hand-in-hand with carbon dioxide output based on your weight (and working out). Mosquitoes are also able to sense body temperature and a larger person, or pregnant woman will put off more heat than a smaller person. Your body weight is a huge attractant to mosquitoes because you are putting out a lot more indicators to help mosquitoes find you.

Alcohol:

Studies have been conducted that show people who consume alcohol are more attractive to mosquitoes. This is not necessarily because of the contents of the drink but instead what the drink does to you. People tend to breathe a little harder after having alcohol as well as having a higher body temperature.

Busted Rumors about Mosquitoes:

  • Eating bananas does not attract mosquitoes.
  • Taking B-12 does not repel mosquitoes.
  • The size of your bite has nothing to do with the quantity of blood taken from you and everything to do with how your body reacts to the bite and saliva from the mosquito.

The final determination:

After seeing all of these determinants it should be stated here that some studies show that it doesn’t matter how much you attract mosquitoes but instead how much you repel them. It has been shown that people who don’t get bit, more than likely, produce chemicals on their skin that cover up other attractants. This was made apparent in one study conducted with twins who showed the same amount of “repellant” from mosquitoes even with different levels of “attractants”.

Mosquito Quiz

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