Suppose you are enjoying an evening with friends outside. Suddenly you find yourself victim to mosquito bites while your friends seem to be spared by the insects. And you can’t figure out why. It is indeed a case for a fair number of people. Some people seem to attract the attention of mosquitoes almost like a magnet. In fact, around 20% of the people in the world fall under that high attracting category. While scientists have not been able to pinpoint the exact causes of this phenomenon, studies have emerged, coming up with various factors that might be playing major roles.
Sight and smell are regarded to play the seminal role in mosquitoes’ selection of their targets. As mentioned in another post, mosquitoes use their visual, olfactory and thermal senses to spot their target. The creatures are very visual and they can spot dark colors easily. People wearing dark clothes often find themselves surrounded by mosquitoes rather than those with lighter clothes. In a study, it was also found that there is a correlation between blood group and the mosquito attacks. Those with blood group O are more favored by the insects, about twice the number of those with type A blood.
Perhaps the most important thing that attracts mosquito is the carbon dioxide exhaled by us. They can detect the gas from as far as fifty meters. People who exhale large quantities of carbon dioxide are naturally prone to mosquito bites. Obese people often exhale strongly than others, emitting more carbon dioxide, and mosquitoes relish them. In addition, body temperature plays an important role as well, and it may cause mosquitoes flock to a person. For example, pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to mosquito attacks, due to their fatty frame as well as the additional body heat. People with more cholesterol on their skin also attract mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are attracted to various other smells as well. No wonder why our bodies, which emit various odors, are so desirable to them. Certain types of acids produced in the body, such as uric acid, are known to attract mosquitoes because they heighten their sense of smell. Other chemicals that draw mosquitoes towards us include lactic acid, acetone and estradiol. Our body odors are the results of the work by more than 300 chemicals, and it is not easy to find out exactly which one is most responsible. Some have also come up with the view that it might not be about the attractive smell, but rather about the repelling ones. Those who are bitten less might be producing odor mosquitoes find unattractive, according to that view.
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