Do you feel like mosquitoes are more attracted to you than other people? Well, you might just be right! There are many reasons why you are such a magnet to these blood-sucking insects, but it’s not that you have ‘sweet blood.’
According to scientists, it’s proven that mosquitoes prefer some blood types more than others. While the research is still ongoing and is yet to be conclusive, most studies have shown that mosquitoes tend to land almost twice as often on people with blood type O than on people with blood type A.
But why would this be? What about your blood makes you so attractive? Read on to find out.
It’s hard to believe but mosquitoes can choose their next victim based on their blood type. There are four major blood types among humans i.e., Blood type A, Blood type B, Blood type AB, and Blood type O.
Each of these blood types comes with a specific protein or ‘antigen’ in the red blood cells which we inherit from our parents.
For instance, Blood type A inherits antigen A, blood type B inherits antigen B, blood type AB inherits both A and B antigens while blood type O has neither antigen A nor B. These antigens can also be found in secreted fluids like saliva and tears.
Scientists believe that the female mosquito seeks these proteins from its host in order to lay its eggs and reproduce.
But based on research, the studies have shown that the mosquitoes are more attracted to people with blood type O compared to other blood types.
There are, however, conflicting results when it comes to the order of preference after the blood type O. Some studies show the order as O>A>B>AB while others show it as O>B>A>AB.
There’s, therefore, a need for more research before we can come up with a definitive order of the blood type’s attractiveness to mosquitoes.
Other factors that attract mosquitoes
While your blood type is a major factor in attracting mosquitoes, it’s not the only one that can explain why you always get bit. Other factors that could attract mosquitoes to you include:
Mosquitoes are very visual insects. They can see you from a distance of between 16 – 49 feet and are attracted to darker colors such as black, green, and red.
So, if you’re dressed in dark clothes, you become much easier to spot and thus an easier target. You can avoid this by wearing light-colored apparel like white or beige.
During summer, you might also get more bites because we tend to expose more skin due to the heat. This gives the mosquitoes more surface area to attack.
Metabolism or Carbon dioxide
According to scientists, your metabolic rate could also be the reason you attract many mosquitoes. Whenever humans exhale, we produce carbon dioxide which mosquitoes use to track our location.
The higher your metabolic rate, the more carbon dioxide you’ll generate meaning you become more inviting to the mosquitoes. In addition to metabolism, the mosquitoes are also attracted to heat and heat sources.
Therefore, if you’ve just hit the gym, you might notice more mosquitoes are targeting you than usual.
Your body odor
How you smell also influences how often mosquitoes bite you. Some people smell extra nice to mosquitoes and this keeps them coming.
Research has shown that mosquitoes react to most compounds found in sweat such as lactic acid and ammonia.
A high number of bacteria on your skin could also affect your body odor and attract more mosquitoes. Studies indicate that more bacteria with less diversity on your skin is a mosquito magnet. This explains why many mosquitoes prefer ankles and feet.
Your genetic composition also influences your body odor. It was found that mosquitoes are more attracted to the body odor of identical twins than that of fraternal twins.
Studies have also shown that pregnant women tend to attract more mosquitoes than other women who aren’t pregnant. This is mainly because they produce more carbon dioxide, lactic acids, and other chemicals during metabolism.
They also generate more heat than usual making them easy landing targets.
Drinking beer / what you eat
Surprising, yes! But who would guess that mosquitoes also love the occasional beer? Well, research conducted in 2002 showed that mosquitoes were more likely to land on people who are drinking.
While they couldn’t find the link between mosquitoes and drinking, most scientists speculate that it’s because of the smell. Eating some foods such as Limburger cheese also has the same effect.
Tips for keeping mosquitoes at bay
Now that you know that mosquitoes can be more attracted to you, there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your family from their bites. They include:
Remove all stagnant water close to your house
Mosquitoes tend to dwell and breed around stagnant waters. Therefore, by removing all these breeding points, you reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home.
The stagnant waters could be in unused tires, toys, gutters, and other plastic containers. Therefore, ensure you get rid of any empty cans that could hold water and clean out your gutters.
Keep in mind: Mosquitoes can breed in as little as an inch of stagnant water.
Trim your trees and cut grass
During the hot days, mosquitoes tend to look for shade under trees and in tall grass. The Unkept trees and tall grass increase the number of hiding spots for mosquitoes around your house.
By trimming your trees and mowing your lawn, you reduce the shade and hiding spots for mosquitoes forcing them to move away from your home.
Avoid scented body products
Mosquitoes have a good sense of smell and are attracted to most fancy scents. Therefore, avoid using any scented soaps, body lotions, and colognes if you don’t have to.
If you’re staying indoors, you can opt to use scented mosquito repellant candles such as citronella and calendula. However, be careful not to cause a house fire if you have a wooden deck or fence.
Invest in bug sprays or bug zappers
Using bug repellant sprays is one of the most effective ways to eliminate mosquitoes. However, with the millions of options available in the market, ensure the spray you choose doesn’t have any harmful chemicals.
Electric bug zappers are also a great solution because they not only get rid of mosquitoes but also bugs and other insects. Nonetheless, bug zappers can be loud and annoying for you and your neighbors so, ensure you turn it off when you’re not home.
Plant some plant repelling shrubs
Besides mosquito repellant sprays, there are several plants you can add to your garden to help repel the mosquitoes. Some of the most effective ones include marigold, citronella, lemon balms, basil, lavender, neem trees, tulsi, catnip, and basil.
While there’s no scientific evidence to prove that these shrubs will work, it’s believed that mosquitoes hate their scent and this puts them off.
How to treat mosquito bites
In many cases, mosquito bites are harmless and will heal by themselves. But if you notice redness and an itch around the affected area, here’s what you can do:
- Wrap an ice pack in a towel or cloth and apply it over the affected parts. The cold will reduce the inflammation and cool the itch away.
- Apply an over-the-counter lotion like hydrocortisone or calamine following the labeled instructions. Note that this may not be suitable for pregnant women or small children.
- Rub alcohol on the bite marks. Alcohol evaporates quickly leaving a cooling effect that relieves the itchiness and discomfort.
- Take an over-the-counter histamine. This could be in the form of a pill or a topical cream that you can apply over the bites. The antihistamines relieve you from itchiness by countering the inflammatory effect of histamine chemicals produced by the body.
Important: If you notice serious signs such as vomiting, shortness of breath, fever, or dizziness, contact your doctor immediately. This could be an indication of a serious infection.
While it’s true that mosquitoes prefer blood type O more than others, that’s not the only factor that lures them your way. Other factors such as your metabolism, clothing, body odor, pregnancy, and what you eat also play a significant role.