Health

The One Thing That Makes Mosquitoes Bite You More Than Everyone Else

April 26th 2017

By:
Anna Albaryan

It's true that some people are more likely to get bitten by mosquitoes than others.

 

 

 

But don't worry, there are ways to make yourself less attractive to the tiny buggers.

Since there are more than 3,000 different species of mosquitoes out there, and scientists are still researching what makes each type of mosquito tick, it's important to note that there are a lot of reasons why you're getting bitten, depending on the species.

But we found a few of the most prevalent reasons you're being targeted more than others, regardless of where you are.

1. You're probably just sweating it.

 

 

 

Literally.

"Yes, working up a sweat will increase your likelihood to get [bitten]," Joseph Conlon, entomology expert, told ATTN: Wednesday.

Scientists found that people who are more active while outdoors are more likely to sweat, and that releases lactic acid from their body - something that attracts a lot of mosquitoes. It also emits more carbon dioxide, which is another mosquito favorite, so the more you move around the more likely you are to get bitten.

2. You're expecting.

 

 

 

This goes back to the emission of carbon dioxide being higher among some people than others. Scientists found that pregnant women (and heavier people, in general) tend to emit more carbon dioxide than others, which makes them a larger target to the bugs.

It was also a major concern in 2016, during an outbreak of the Zika virus, which was spread even further when pregnant women were being bitten twice as much as non-pregnant women by mosquitoes carrying the virus.

3. You're just a fidgety person.

 

 

 

Believe it or not, the first thing that might give you away to mosquitoes is how much you're moving around in one spot. People who tend to fidget are easier targets for mosquitoes, who track their pray like sharks, Conlon explained.

"It’s really because mosquitos from a distance will attract you by movement. It’s only when they get up close to you that they attract you by your smells. And they track you in much of the same way as a shark does," said Conlon.

The retired U.S. Navy entomologist said "people emit a cone of smell," so before a mosquito can zero in on it, first it has to track one down, and that's when standing still might help avoid being bitten.

"Best thing to do is if you’re out at night, stand next to someone who’s fidgety cause they’ll go to him or her," said Conlon.

4. You're actually irresistible.

 

 

 

Not kidding.

"There’s definitely a genetic component to it, the way you metabolize foods and things of that nature promotes certain bacteria [on your skin] and based on the combination of the fats and other things you exude from your skin, you’re more likely to get bit," explained Conlon. He went on to add that some "people are more likely to get bitten by mosquitos that have a certain composition to the flora and fauna on their skin."

But it's not that simple. While some people produce natural attractants toward mosquitoes than others, there are too many potential combinations of these attractants that exist in the world for scientists to determine exactly what that attractant compound may be.

"What you’re looking at is 300 to the 300th power of different potential combinations, which is more than the known atoms in the universe, so they’re not likely to come up with an answer to that anytime soon," he said. And while some reports may list your blood type as one of the reasons you might be more attractive, it turns out that was only seen in one mosquito species within a sample size of 64 people, which is too small of a testing group to make any definitive conclusions about. Other tests concluded a different blood type as more attractive, according to the same study.

Whether you're more prone to these bites or not, there are steps you can take to avoid getting bitten.

Conlon listed a few precautionary measures you can take that will almost always guarantee protection from being bitten and possibly coming down with a disease.

"Drain, dress, and defend," he said.

Drain: Get rid of any standing water in your backyard to the extent that you can. Don't make it easier for mosquitoes to come near you.

Dress: Wear long sleeves and long pants that have a tight weave but wear them loosely, because mosquitoes can still bite through tight-fitting clothes regardless of a thicker weave.

Defend: Make sure to wear repellent properly. The only bug spray that works are EPA-approved repellents (you can find the approval logo on the bottle), but it must be reapplied every two to four hours, after sweating it off, and after swimming in a pool or the ocean.

Now, with all this in mind, hopefully you can enjoy summer free of any mosquito bites - you're welcome.