Picture it: The sun is setting and turning another hot summer day into a warm evening — wait. If the sun is going down, that means...OUCH!
Whether you know someone or you are someone who gets bitten by mosquitoes more frequently than others, it can feel personal. But is it? Scientists have estimated that as much as 20% of the population are ‘more likely’ to be bitten by mosquitoes — but why?
6 Factors That Can Make You Irresistible to Mosquitoes
As it turns out, there are many reasons you could be a beacon of blood to these tiny vampires.
As it turns out, mosquitos have preferences on blood types. This is relatively unsurprising since this pest relies on certain proteins found in blood to survive. Results from one study suggested that mosquitoes in a controlled setting bit people with Type O blood almost twice as often as people with type A blood.
More data suggests that around 85% of people secrete chemicals that signal what type of blood they have compared to 15% of people who do not possess the same genetic marker — and mosquitoes are more attracted to the former than the latter.
Did you know mosquitoes locate their next meal by sensing carbon dioxide? They can even detect the presence of carbon dioxide from up to 164 feet away! Because of this, those who exhale more carbon dioxide are more likely to attract mosquitoes. Generally, this is why adults are bitten more than children — children have smaller lungs and therefore can’t release as much of the gas as grown adults do.
As if pregnancy didn’t bring enough trials! Pregnant women exhale approximately 21% more carbon dioxide and run almost two degrees warmer than average — resulting in being twice as likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than other people.
Although mosquitoes sense carbon dioxide, it’s not their only form of seeking nutrients. Jonathan Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida, explained to NBC News that mosquitoes also rely on their eyesight to locate their next victim. Wearing dark colors such as black, navy, and red stand out more to their limited eyesight.
Metabolism and Physical Activity
Colors can make you stand out more to a mosquito looking for a bite, but movement and body temperature are other key factors. Body odor and other chemicals created during exercise (such as lactic acid, ammonia, uric acid, etc.) tell mosquitoes that you’re a good place to land and feed.
While working out, your body temperature increases — and so does your production of lactic acid. There’s a genetic tie-in as well: Some people naturally emit more uric acid than others, which makes certain people more ‘visible’ to mosquitoes than others.
One of the last major factors calling mosquitoes to humans? Bacteria. A 2011 study found that large amounts of bacteria made skin more attractive to mosquitoes. This is likely why mosquitoes are drawn to our feet and ankles, as these areas typically have stronger concentrations of bacteria.
Contact Preventive Pest Control for Your Houston Mosquito Solutions
We can’t change your genetic makeup, but our team of professional pest experts can help you reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home. Contact us online or by phone at (713) 955-7405 and take your summer back today!