Mosquitoes adore human blood. There is no argument about that. But haven’t you wondered why they bite humans particularly? Why not a tree, a chair, or a laptop? This question might sound silly at first thought. But it makes a lot of sense as it helps you understand the reasons you are irresistible to those nuisance bloodsuckers.
The odour your body emits is among the first thing that mosquitoes draw to. There are over a million bacteria and microbes living naturally on your skin. Half of these bacteria produce chemicals that are responsible for the odor. Activities such as exercising or playing sports are known to produce heat thus, excess amount of sweat and bodily fluids. But the sweat itself doesn’t attract mosquitoes as it’s odorless. Old sweat, nonetheless, is what harvests the bacteria that produce the chemicals causing the odor.
Body odour can be reduced by taking a daily shower and maintaining regular hygiene. Wearing clean socks and clothes and replacing the sweaty ones will also help in going off the mosquito’s radar, at least for a while.
Perfume & deodorants
It’s clear now that mosquitoes love bodily odors. But how about deterring them by wearing perfume or deodorants? This sounds like a lazy solution to the problem. But unfortunately, it wouldn’t work. Contrarily, studies have shown that scented deodorants themselves attract mosquitoes. This is because some of the chemicals used in these products contain pheromone, the principle chemical that insects use to telecommunication and mate with their kinds.
Breathing itself doesn’t invite mosquitoes to bite us. But the gas that we exhale, carbon dioxide or CO2, is what causes them to swarm around us. It’s been known for a while that female mosquitoes use specific sensors around their mouths to sense carbon dioxide being exhaled by humans and animals. In fact, the gas is what mosquitoes rely upon to find their prey. A burning candle and other fires also produce CO2. But mosquitoes choose humans, bearing in mind the other factors such as body odors and deodorants.
Most mosquitoes rely on their sense of smell to find their food. However, some mosquito species are known as visual hunters that locate prey by looking for signs of life against the horizon. Movements can also draw mosquitoes in. Therefore, if you are on a hiking trip, consider wearing plenty of bug-repellent and, of course, avoid clothes that are dark in color.
Alpha-Hydroxy Acids, abbreviated as AHA, is a chemical compound that consists of a carboxylic acid. AHA is well known for its use in a variety of cosmetic products such as facial creams and moisturizers. Scientists have known for years that mosquitoes are naturally attracted AHA. Hence, using products containing AHA will likely draw mosquitoes in. This can be prevented by avoiding these products when going outdoor for a prolonged period.
Luckily, most lotions and creams containing carboxylic acid are labeled “alpha hydroxy”, giving you a heads-up.
You might have noticed that mosquitoes target certain people more than others, but couldn’t make sense of it. This might sound ridiculous to you but blood type does play a role in this. One study, supported by evidence, has revealed that the blood type (O) attracts mosquitoes more than others (A or B). What explains this behavior, according to the study, is found in our genes. About 85 percent of people secrete a chemical signal through their skin that indicates which blood type they have, while 15 percent do not. Those who secrete more were the ones who get bitten the most.