Are You A Mosquito Magnet? Read on to find Out…by Yash Saboo February 26 2018, 4:00 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 52 secs
Are you a "mosquito magnet" who always complains about mosquito bites? There's a chance that you are amongst those "mosquito attractors" due to various reasons.
Let's start with what attracts the mosquitos in general. Mosquitoes are choosy and they want the best for their eggs. We produce chemicals and microbes which make up our unique body odour. They know exactly the right chemical mix and its odour because this accurately represents the blood they want. They can also detect these attractive aromas up to 30 meters away!
What makes up this chemical mix? Just think that we have 100 trillion microbes, which is ten times the number of human cells we possess. We have a unique microbial signature, which is mostly due to genetics. This will determine what type of bacteria we host in our gut and bodies. These microbes are an essential part of our immune system, so washing frequently is not going to do any good. It will certainly not deter the mosquitoes zooming in because their sense of smell is extremely sharp.
Some of the factors are:
1) Blood type: It’s all about the blood for mosquitoes; well that and nectar. Adult mosquitoes survive on nectar for nourishment, but females rely on the protein in our blood for the production of eggs. So it’s little surprise that some blood types may be more desirable than others. Research has found, in fact, that people with Type O blood are found to be twice as attractive to mosquitoes than those with Type A blood; Type B people were in the middle.
2) Pregnancy: One study in Africa found that pregnant women are twice as attractive to malaria-carrying mosquitoes as non-pregnant women; researchers believe it is due to an increase in carbon dioxide – they found that women in late pregnancy exhaled 21 percent greater volume of breath than non-pregnant women.
3) Beer: Who knew mosquitos also enjoy a cold beer! In one study researchers found that significantly more mosquitoes landed on study participants after drinking a 12-ounce beer than before. The scientists figured that it was due to increased ethanol content in sweat and skin temperature from consuming the brew, but they were unable to find the exact correlation, just that it happened.
4) Apparel: Like the neighbour in your building, mosquitos also judge you according to the way you dress. They use their eyes to target victims. A scientist explains that mosquitoes are highly visual, “especially later in the afternoon, and their first mode of search for humans is through vision.” Wearing dark colours (navy, black) and red makes you easier to spot.
5) Lively skin: Some research has shown that the types and amount of bacteria on one’s skin can play a role in bringing on the mosquitoes as well. Our dermal casing is naturally teeming with microscopic life, and the whole shebang creates a distinct fragrance.
If you’re one of the lucky individual mosquitoes love, try this advice from Nora Besansky, PhD, a professor in the department of biological sciences at Notre Dame: “The simplest way, albeit uncomfortable in the heat, [to avoid bites] is to place a barrier between the skin and a day-biting mosquito—that is, long sleeves and long pants,” she explains. “Even better protection is to apply an effective mosquito repellent to such clothing.” She recommends spraying yourself with a product that contains DEET.