COVID notwithstanding, summer is the time lots of people spend less time in the house. Outdoor activities. Staying out late. Summer vacations. And for most of us, mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes eat the nectar of flowers because the natural sugars give them energy. However, they also bite humans to drink their blood. Only female mosquitos bite and they do it because there are nutrients in human blood that help them make eggs for reproduction.
A mosquito’s mouth is sort of like a straw and at the far end is a sharp tip called a proboscis. The proboscis is used to pierce a person’s skin and once the mosquito starts feeding, it injects saliva into your skin. Your body reacts to the saliva, which results in an itchy bump.
But not everyone is seemingly constantly bitten by mosquitoes.
You may know people who never get bitten by mosquitoes. Or maybe you have a lifetime of being mosquito bait, so you arm yourself with bug spray and Avon Skin So Soft.
It turns out there are scientific reasons that mosquitoes tend to bite some people more than others. The good news is that you can have some control over some of them:
What you wear
Mosquitoes use their eyes to find their victims (instead of relying more on another sense, as a dog relies on smell or a bat relies on sound). They’re able to see humans from a distance of about 5-15 meters (roughly 15 to 50 feet) and researchers have determined that they can see darker colors, especially green, black and red, best of all.
How hot & sweaty you are
Mosquitoes have a thing for heat and sweat and the bacteria that grow with both. They’re attracted to lactic acid, ammonia and other compounds in sweat. So the less you sweat….or the more you shower the sweat off, mosquitoes should bother you less.
Your perfume or cologne
Do you know how we said before that mosquitoes would search for flower nectar? Don’t purposely smell like a flower. 😉
This one comes a little out of left field, but apparently researchers of one study discovered that more mosquitoes landed on study participants after they (the participants, not the mosquitoes) drank a can of beer. The thing is, they’re not sure why, LOL!
And the bad news…
The bad news is that you can’t always have control over the things that cause mosquitoes to be attracted to you:
Researches have discovered that mosquitoes are most attracted to those who have Type O blood. The next most popular is Type B, followed by Type A. On top of that, 87% of humans produce a secretion that signals their blood type; mosquitoes are drawn to those people more than the 13% who don’t produce these secretions, regardless of what blood type they are.
Mosquitoes love carbon dioxide, which also happens to be what we exhale. The bigger you are = the more you exhale = the more mosquitos may be attracted to you.
Where to avoid mosquitoes
Want to have a mosquito-free vacation? Go to Iceland or Antarctica. Those are the only places in the world with zero mosquito populations.
References: Prevention, MedlineFeature Photo: dr_relling / flickr
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary