There is quite a bit of controversy and debate as to whether mosquitoes prefer to bite some people compared to others. But there has been quite a bit of scientific research with regard to the topic and the data seems to suggest that it’s true – there are some features about certain individuals that mosquitoes prefer, leading them to bite said people more. For the most part, you can’t really do much to change it, but there are other precautionary measures to take. Read on to find out what makes you so attractive (or not) to mosquitoes.
Though still a hot topic of debate, some scientific studies suggest that people with type O blood chances to be bitten by a mosquito are twice as likely compared to people with type A. People who have type B blood fall somewhere around the middle, and those with type AB have variable experiences. The bottom line of all of this is that if you have type O blood, you’re under greater siege.
Now the reasons why mosquitoes prefer type O are quite complex, but it has been shown that people secrete different substances that the mosquito can smell based on their blood type.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about your blood type – it’s genetic. But the knowledge of your blood type can help you take more precaution if you are susceptible. There doesn’t seem to be much research as to how the Rhesus Factor (positive or negative) affects mosquito preference.
Mosquitos hunt their victims by sniffing out carbon dioxide. Generally, the higher your metabolic rate, the more carbon dioxide you produce, making you an easier target. So you are more likely to get bitten after a heavy workout, if you have a larger bodyweight, or if you are pregnant. Again, there is not very much you can do about your metabolic rate or how much carbon dioxide you exhale, short of holding your breath (but obviously we don’t recommend this).
Interestingly enough, since you breathe carbon dioxide out through your nose and mouth, mosquitoes are more attracted to the head region, which is why you hear them buzzing around your ears at night.
Mosquitoes don’t only hunt by smell, but by sight too. Since they are naturally designed to fly lower to the ground, they spot their prey by comparing silhouettes against the horizon. Darker clothes produce a clearer silhouette so they are easier to spot by these tiny assassins. On the other hand, lighter clothes blend in with the horizon and for all intents and purposes may make you invisible to the mosquito.
So you can wear lighter colored pajamas and have lightly colored bed sheets, but this doesn’t eliminate the chance of the mosquito catching you by smell, which is primarily what they use when feeding at night.
Another interesting but not-well-understood link is the bacteria that take residence on your skin. Yes, it’s a slightly uncomfortable reality to know that there are always trillions of bacteria on your skin at any given time, but these are generally not harmful. Anyway, these even smaller organisms also secrete various smells and chemicals that may attract or repel mosquitoes. The kinds of bacteria that live on the skin vary quite considerably from one person to the next, so it’s a difficult thing to study, but there has been the suggestion that hugging a person who is often not bitten may help. There isn’t any major scientific evidence for this, but it’s worth a try anyway. Besides, who doesn’t want more hugs?