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.
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.
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