Why do mosquitoes bite me?

My best friend and I have always noticed that I get devoured by mosquitoes while he does not even get one bite. This was very intriguing to me because even people from my family have a saying that goes like this: “A la gente de sangre enferma no le pican los mosquitos.” This means mosquitoes do not bite people who have unhealthy blood. They do not believe this but it is a popular saying. I just wondered why mosquitoes have a preference for a certain type of individual, so I made some research and found astounding results that makes it much clearer for me as of why they choose me.

2006 Paul I. Howell, MPH, Malaria Research and Reference Reagent Resource Cntr; Prof. Frank Hadley Collins, Dir., Cntr. for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, Univ. of Notre Dame This A. aegypti female was from a strain of mosquitos named LVP-IB12, an acronym representing the fact that these mosquitos were derived from the Liverpool strain (LVP), and that they were inbred 12 times (IB12), in order to create a more homogeneous genotype. Also, of great importance is the additional fact that this specie is being used in the A. aegypti genome sequencing project. Though the mosquito’s geographical origin is not known, it is believed to be somewhere in Africa. Dengue (DF) and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) are primarily diseases of tropical and sub tropical areas, and the four different dengue serotypes are maintained in a cycle that involves humans and the domestic, day-biting mosquito, Aedes aegypti, which prefers to feed on humans, and is the most common Aedes species. Infections produce a spectrum of clinical illness ranging from a nonspecific viral syndrome to severe and fatal hemorrhagic disease. Important risk factors for DHF include the strain of the infecting virus, as well as the age, and especially the prior dengue infection history of the patient.DF and DHF are caused by one of four closely related, but antigenically distinct virus serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4) of the genus Flavivirus. Infection with one of these serotypes provides immunity to only that serotype for life, so persons living in a dengue-endemic area can have more than one dengue infection during their lifetime.

Univ. of Notre Dame 2006. Image taken from here.

According to The Smithsonian Magazine (Stromberg, 2013) there are several factors that may affect mosquitoes targeting an individual over another. I will discuss throughout the blog the ones that I personally found intriguing and that also apply to me.

For instance, the scent and clothing color of a person will influence in the amount of mosquito bites on your skin. According to Allergies Health Center (2016) acid scents such as uric acid, lactic acid, and other acids that are secreted through our skin are more likely to stand out among other people’s scents. This makes certain individuals more attractive for a mosquito. Furthermore, people who wear black, blue, red, dark green or dark purple tend to be bitten more times than those who don’t. Mosquitoes have a preference for dark colors and therefore if you wear these it will facilitate the process of targeting you.

Joseph Stromberg (2013) also claims in his Smithsonian Magazine article how exercise takes a huge part in mosquito targeting. When a person goes to the gym, the body temperature and amount of lactic acid in your body increases as a consequence of exercise. As this increases so is the probability of a mosquito to bite you. This occurs due to the fact that the person will have a high body temperature that will cause the excretion of several scents that lure mosquitoes into biting.


Image taken from here

In addition to this, the body weight and age of an individual is correlated with the amount of mosquitoes bites that the person will have. For example, a man who has a large body weight is more likely to attract mosquitoes than a little boy. This is because the amount of carbon dioxide released by a big man’s body is higher than that of a boy. Mosquitoes will scent co2 from miles away since they have qualities in their body that lead them to the source of the smell.

Furthermore, the blood type of an individual is influential to the amount of mosquito bites a person gets. A study done by the Institute of Pest Control Technology found that blood type O was significantly more susceptible by 83% to mosquito bites than any other type of blood. People who have blood types A and B are not prone to get too many mosquito bites, however, blood type B tended to get more than A.

Now I know why I get so many mosquito bites. I always prefer to wear dark colors, my blood type is O positive and I tend to exercise at night which leads me to be very attractive for a mosquito. So the myth was wrong, I do not have unhealthy blood, I just happen to do and have many traits that mosquitoes prefer in their targets.

Here is a video that portrays some examples as of why mosquitoes prefer some people over others. It contains some of the examples I talked about previously but there are others not mentioned above.

Video taken from here

2 thoughts on “Why do mosquitoes bite me?

  1. Brendan Mironov


    I guess we have something in common! Mosquitos also love to feast on my blood and for the longest time I had no idea why. Like you, I would be outside with my friends and within five minutes a would be bitten by numerous mosquitos while my friends were completely fine. Being from a warmer climate in Florida, mosquitos were much more prevalent and they were constantly buzzing around you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. My parents are Russian and there is also a Russian saying that mosquitos only like those with sweet blood! Did you come across anything that talks about what to do after you’ve been bitten? Is scratching the bite bad for you?

  2. Taylor M Lender

    I have a similar problem. I am a backpacking guide in the summers, and I get terribly bit up. Does anything work for you to repeal the bugs? I wear 98% DEET and I still have problems.

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