If you tend to get bitten by mosquitoes during the summer months and wonder why you’re always the victim, you could be making yourself more of a target than you realise.
To save you from getting red, itchy mosquito bites, we’ve listed a few things which attract mosquitoes.
Adult mosquitoes feed on nectar, however, female mosquitoes need the protein from blood in order to create their eggs.
What’s more, they prefer some blood types over others, and people with ‘O’ type blood are almost twice as likely to be bitten by mosquitoes compared to those with ‘A’ type.
And if that isn’t enough, 85% of people secrete a chemical that signals what blood type they have and mosquitoes prefer these people, regardless of blood type.
Your chances of becoming a mosquito magnet increase when you’re hot and sweaty. This is because these critters can track the smell of lactic acid, ammonia and other substances in your sweat, though the amounts differ depending on your genes. Mosquitoes are also initially drawn to body heat.
So, if you’re out and about on a hot sunny day or working up a sweat exercising outside, it’s best to protect yourself.
Fragrances, especially floral ones, are very attractive to mosquitoes. This doesn’t just apply to perfumes – washing powders and scented lotions can also turn you into a mosquito calling card. Even scented candles may entice mosquitoes, and the carbon dioxide they release as they burn will amplify this.
Your skin releases chemicals, and these get picked up by mosquitoes. Lactic acid is released when exercising or eating certain foods, and mosquitoes are more attracted to people who release more if it. You can get rid of excess lactic acid by washing your skin and drying it thoroughly.
Mosquitoes are also attracted to potassium, which are found in foods such as bananas, avocados, and dried fruit.
You release carbon dioxide when you breathe out, and this is something mosquitoes are drawn to. Larger people and pregnant women release more carbon dioxide, as well as heavy breathing from exercise.
The way you dress can also attract mosquitoes – they use their vision to distinguish shapes. Dark and bright colours such as red are easier to spot compared with lighter shades, so by wearing them, you’ll become more of a target.
It’s best to protect yourself by wearing lightweight, breathable clothing. Avoid skin-tight garments as mosquitoes can bite through them easily.
If you’re planning an evening stroll, make sure you’re protected against mosquitoes. Because of their thin bodies, mosquitoes cannot handle harsh sunlight, which is why they prefer to come out in the evenings. Mosquitoes like to be near standing bodies of water, so take care if you’re visiting a pond or a lake too.