If you’re a mosquito magnet, you’re probably wondering, “Why do mosquitoes bite me so much? Is it possible they’re biting me more than other people, or am I just imagining things?”
In fact, mosquitoes really are attracted to some people more than others! While some lucky souls can spend hours outside with few or no bites, the poor saps beside them can be covered in itchy welts.
Why is it that mosquitoes find some people more irresistible than others? Keep reading to find out! We’re covering why mosquitoes bite you and how to avoid pain, itching, and possible mosquito-borne diseases this summer.
Why Are Mosquitoes Biting You So Much?
It’s Your Location
Mosquitoes are just about everywhere, but they thrive in certain environments more than others.
Mosquitoes are attracted to areas that are warm and humid, since that’s where they can breed. They lay their eggs in standing water or damp soil. If your yard has standing water—say, from a pond, water feature, birdbath, clogged gutters, etc.—that’s likely the reason for high numbers of mosquitoes. Of course, high numbers of mosquitoes mean more bites.
To make your yard inhospitable to mosquitoes, be sure to eliminate all sources of standing water. It’s also a good idea to maintain your yard on a regular basis, mowing and filling in dips to prevent water from collecting again. (You can check out our previous post for even more tips to keep mosquitoes away.)
If you seem to get eaten alive by mosquitoes no matter where you go or what your yard looks like, it might be you!
Mosquitoes use their eyesight and sense of smell to locate their targets. They can sense the carbon dioxide you exhale, the heat you give off, and several of the compounds emitted in sweat (like lactic acid and ammonia).
So why would they choose you over your neighbor? Based on emerging research, there are a few factors that seem to affect how appealing you are to mosquitoes:
- Exercise: Since mosquitoes are attracted to heat and can sense the compounds in human sweat, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that exercising makes you extra-attractive to them. Exercise raises your body temperature and makes you sweat.
- Size: Larger people exhale greater amounts of carbon dioxide over time, which can make them easier for mosquitoes to find. (This is also why children are typically bitten less than adults.)
- Blood type: In one study, researchers found that blood type played a role in a person’s appeal to mosquitoes. The research found that mosquitoes landed on people with Type O blood twice as often as people with Type A blood. (Type B landed in between the other blood types.)
- Skin bacteria: Another study found that skin bacteria had an effect. (Side note: did you know that the entire human body is covered in non-harmful, often beneficial, bacteria?) Having large numbers of just a few types of bacteria made a person more attractive to mosquitoes. On the other hand, having lots of different types of bacteria seemed to make someone less attractive.
- Pregnancy: Several studies have found that pregnant women attract double the mosquitoes. This is likely because pregnancy increases your body temperature slightly and increases the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled by 21 percent.
How to Avoid Mosquito Bites
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to make yourself less appealing to mosquitoes. After all, there’s no way to change your blood type!
So, what can you do if you’re a tall pregnant woman with Type O blood who likes to exercise?
In addition to maintaining your yard, here are a few tips to avoid mosquitoes:
- Avoid the outdoors at dawn and dusk. Mosquitoes are especially active at dawn and dusk. If you’re outside during these times, you’ll be vulnerable to mosquitoes. You can avoid mosquitoes by minimizing your time outdoors during peak mosquito hours.
- Wear protective clothing. Whenever you’re outdoors—especially during dawn and dusk—consider wearing loose, long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Apply insect repellent. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR 3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus have been shown to be effective. You should apply these every couple of hours that you remain outdoors. (The effectiveness wanes over time, like sunscreen.)
- Use fans and tents during outdoor gatherings. Closed tents and fans can help keep mosquitoes from landing on you during your picnics and BBQs.
We hope these tips help you stay bite-free and healthy this year!
If you have a serious mosquito problem in your yard that can’t be fixed on your own, we’re here to help!
Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control is a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or via web inquiry, Facebook or Twitter.