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Why do mosquitoes bite some people and not others?

Body odours, colours and some substances, plus genetics are all decisive factors.

Why do mosquitoes bite some people more than others? What factors influence the preferences of these insects when choosing their victims? There are colours that especially attract mosquitoes, such as black and red, which must be avoided at all costs during the hot summer months.

But it is not only colours that attract these insects, so do certain smells. Body perspiration, alcohol that has been ingested and foods with certain aromas can attract mosquitoes.

According to the entomologist Rosario Melero-Alcíbar, an expert on mosquitoes, the CO2 and lactic acid that people expel through their skin through sweat is something that attracts mozzie attention!

Aedes albopictus mosquito feeding. Photo by James Gathany Centers for Disease Control

Body odour, which changes depending on the person and can be more or less intense.” Alcohol also enhances the elimination of CO2 through the skin.

Also, hot and copious meals increase body temperature and increase the concentration of CO2 in the skin. That attracts mosquitoes, since said smell, according to the expert, cannot be camouflaged with cologne or perfume. Similarly, “the flowers and other smells present around us do not influence the possibility of being bitten by mosquitoes.”

Melero-Alcíbar points out that repellents distort the smell around people and the perception capacity that mosquitoes have, especially skin repellents, which manage to confuse the insect. Other items, such as candles, bracelets, or smoke sticks, have a limited range.

Recent scientific research from the University of Washington has shown that insects perceive human skin in red, a hue to which they are attracted (on the other hand, white leaves them indifferent) , so it is recommended during the summer to avoid wearing bare arms and legs.

Other previous studies have determined a certain preference of mosquitoes towards certain blood groups, such as 0 and B. Likewise, they prefer people who have been sweating for long lengths of time to those who have been perspiring recently, so a good shower before bed is preferable to avoid being bitten.

And genetics plays a role too. There are certain people who, unknowingly, secrete substances that are not pleasant to “mozzie nostrils” and act as natural repellents.

For some further information on trying to keep the blighters away.. click the photo below.

Source in Spanish :

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