Why do Mosquitoes Bite Me and Not Others?
Have you ever wondered, “Why do I always have to be on the look out for bugs? What’s so special about me that they want me so much, biting me in the park or while I’m sleeping? How can I avoid being covered with mosquito bites on my arms and legs?”
If so, we recommend you read the following article where you’ll gain some new insight from the interesting data on this subject.
What is a mosquito’s life like?
This particular insect feeds on the blood of animals and people and keeps a very busy daily agenda. To start out, it’s important to note that mosquitoes tend to attack during the hours at dawn and dusk.
It’s during these two times of day when the light of the sun is more diffused and it’s less hot outside. That’s when they take the opportunity to stock up on food.
It is the females who bit you because they need proteins from blood to lay eggs. This is especially so during their main reproductive period each year. Mosquito larvae can develop anywhere there is standing water (ponds, pools, lakes, etc.)
Male mosquitoes, on the other hand, feed on nectar, sap, and fruit juices.
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Mosquitoes are quite busy finding the right victim to meet their needs. That means that they check out their surroundings very thoroughly before feeding.
No doubt you’ve heard that annoying hum near your ear. This means that a mosquito is checking you out to see if you’re a worthy meal.
While there are a few different ways to deter the mosquito from snacking on you (repellent, fly swatters, ultrasound devices, etc.), if it really wants to get you…it will!
You’ll have that pesky mosquito circling your body all day long until it achieves its goal.
Why do mosquitoes choose some people and not others?
This is one of the most asked questions of all time. Some people say that they are sweeter than others (this is a popular theory), while others are convinced it has more to do with the smell that your skin gives off (regardless of whether it’s sweet or not).
In the same room or region you might find people who’ve literally been devoured by mosquitoes while others don’t have a single bite.
Different research teams have tried to get to the bottom of why this happens and unravel the reasons that lead an insect to bite one person and ignore another.
Researchers at the University of Nottingham (UK) and the University of Florida claim that it’s due to your genetics.
They demonstrated that there’s a particular genetic component that can make you more or less attractive to mosquitoes.
Why do mosquitoes pick certain people?
And how does the mosquito know your genetic makeup? Through your body odor, essentially. People who are less attractive to mosquitoes produce more repellent odors through their skin, and apparently it’s all controlled by your genetics.
The difference in body odor could make the difference between being the target of a bit or not. These studies were conducted using groups of identical and fraternal female twins.
The first group of identical twins were bitten by more mosquitoes than the second group. This implies that the “guilt” lies in genetics, because identical twins have greater genetic agreement.
Furthermore, additional studies have indicated that mosquitoes prefer to bite people who smell a certain way in general.
Pregnant women are often the targets of malaria-carrying mosquitoes in Africa, while people with more muscle mass or fat content are more attractive to gnats and mosquitoes in general.
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Other theories also have to do with body odor, but are based on the carbon dioxide that we exhale while breathing. Carbon dioxide is concentrated around humans because we release it every time we breathe.
A team of researchers has also announced that people who accumulate more of a certain type of bacteria (especially staphylococci) on their skin are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes. Where can these odors come from?
- Nylon clothing
We’ve already told you what happens when the mosquito is inspecting you. They use smell to interpret our body odor, which is at least in part related to genetics. But there’s still one more factor! Your temperature.
This research, published in the BBC, suggests that mosquitoes are more tactical than any military strategy. Once they’ve targeted you by sight, smell, and temperature, they are certain to stay on course.
It all depends on how far away they are from the target. Body heat is usually perceived from a close distance and can ultimately trigger the attack.
How to avoid mosquito bites?
Empty any containers where standing water can accumulate (pots, toys, dishes).
Don’t use scented soaps or strong perfumes (avoid hairspray).
Maintain proper hygiene to keep odors from becoming strong and avoid excessive sweating.
Wear clothing that covers your skin and avoid bright or dark colors.
Turn off the lights in your room.
Don’t open your windows at dusk.
Use mosquito nets for your bed, windows, and doors.
Apply mosquito repellent creams or sprays.