Imagine it’s a beautiful summer night. You’re hanging out in your backyard with a few close friends and family. Something is cooking on the grill that smells absolutely delicious. Your favorite song comes on the radio and you lean back in your chair, thinking to yourself that things couldn’t be better. Suddenly, a tiny insect no bigger than your pinky nail lands on your neck and ruins everything. That’s right, one mosquito has the power to turn any blissful summer night into an evening of itching, scratching, and swatting.
Unfortunately, the above scenario is a sad reality for many people during the hotter months of the year. When the mosquitoes come out, it’s only a matter of time before they’re getting “eaten alive.” But have you ever wondered why mosquitoes seem to favor some of us way more than others? I mean, my mom gets bitten by mosquitoes the second she steps outside, while my dad and I can go on a three-day hike through the forest and emerge with only a bite or two. My dad always joked that it was because he and I had more “bitter” blood than my mother, but it turns out he might have been closer to the truth than we thought.
There are a number of biological factors that affect how attracted mosquitoes are to you and your blood. While some of these are outside of our control, it’s important to keep them in mind whenever we’re in an area with a high threat of mosquitoes. Despite their small size, mosquitoes are capable of transmitting all kinds of diseases that would ruin a whole lot more than your summer night. Check out the four major reasons why mosquitoes are attracted to you below and learn more about why these bloodsuckers keep bugging you.
1. Lactic Acid
The higher the amount of lactic acid you’re producing, the more mosquitoes are attracted to you. Where does lactic come from, you ask? Sweat. Those little beads of perspiration on your arms and legs are a feast for mosquitoes.
They’re also more attracted to sweat that’s older, so remember to frequently wipe away your sweat if you’re going to be outside for a long time.
Luckily for dogs, they only sweat in areas without fur.
What the new Star Wars movie didn’t show you was that Finn got a bunch of mosquito bites after crash landing in the deserts of Jakku.
It’s easy to forget that our skin is a living organ. It’s covered in different types of bacteria, some of which make it a far more appealing landing zone to mosquitoes.
Staphylococcus and Variovorax are two types of bacteria that make someone more desirable to pests. Other bacteria, however, has the opposite effect and actually acts as a deterrent. Pseudomonas, Delftia, Leptotrichia, and Actinobacteria are all examples of bacteria that are good for keeping mosquitoes at bay.
3. Blood Type
Not much you can do to change your blood type, unless of course you could get a transfusion and swap out all the blood in your body with a different type, but I’m not a scientist and that has to be impossible, right? Anyways, those with type O blood are most likely to get bitten, followed by type B, then type A.
4. Carbon Dioxide
Some of us may not have thought about CO2 since the days of watching Captain Planet on Saturday mornings …
Or when we step outside on a cold day and see our breath …
Or when we’re clinging to the love of our life on a raft in the middle of the ocean.
Believe it or not, those who breathe heavier are more likely to get bit by mosquitoes since they’re attracted to the carbon dioxide we release when we exhale. We’re willing to let this one slide, considering CO2 is responsible for keeping all of our favorite plants alive.
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