Sometimes it can seem like mosquitoes are biting you more often than everyone else. The truth is you could be right. Mosquitoes actually do find certain people more attractive as a snack than others.
Why? Many factors, from your smell to your blood type, could be contributing to your popularity with these blood-craving insects.
9. They Love Your Sweat
More accurately, mosquitoes love the lactic acid in your sweat produced while exercising. If you’re someone whose body makes a lot of lactic acid, mosquitoes will be more attracted to you.
What is lactic acid? It’s an acid your body makes in your muscles as a result of breaking down glucose for oxygen during exercise. Lactic acid releases through the skin in your sweat.
If you often engage in strenuous exercise, you’re likely a bigger target for hungry mosquitoes than people who don’t exercise as often or as intensely.
8. They Love Your Post-Workout Scent
Not only does your workout sweat lure mosquitoes to your skin, but the lingering post-workout bacteria has a scent they love too. All the more reason to shower and change clothes after exercising, and before going outside.
Bacteria is the source of sweat’s unique scent. The smell of that bacteria — unpleasant to humans, but exciting to mosquitoes — indicates that some tasty blood is likely nearby.
For extra bacteria-killing power when washing workout clothes, try adding a cup of white vinegar along with your laundry detergent.
7. They Love That You Love Bananas
Speaking of loving your scent, mosquitoes can also zero in on your body more than others because of certain foods you eat, particularly if the foods you eat are high in potassium and salt. These minerals give off a scent through your skin that mosquitoes adore.
Do you eat lots of bananas, avocados, dried fruits, beans and other foods high in potassium? To avoid an onslaught of mosquito love, you might consider staying indoors for a while after eating them.
Same goes if you eat a lot of salty foods, like cured meats and salted nuts. Or just assume you’re going to need more mosquito repellent than those who ate a low-salt salad instead.
6. They Love You More When You Burn Energy
Your metabolic rate can have a lot to do with how much mosquitoes are attracted to you. The level of your metabolic rate is determined by the amount of carbon dioxide you release while burning energy. You guessed it — mosquitoes love the smell of carbon dioxide, too.
The more carbon dioxide your body releases, the more mosquitoes are going to want to nuzzle up to you. That’s why if you burn a lot of energy throughout the day, you could automatically be a bigger mosquito target.
5. They Love Your Blood Type
We’ve got some bad news for people with type O blood. It seems mosquitoes love you twice as much as people with type A blood.
According to a 2004 study in the Journal of Medical Entomology, people with type O blood attract mosquitoes up to 83% more often than those with other blood types.
It’s not yet clear why, but it’s a concern all the same. If you have type O blood, you probably need to wear more protection against mosquito bites on a regular basis.Related: 11 Helpful Tips for Preventing Mosquito Bites
4. They Love the Color of Your Clothes
In addition to finding you by smell, mosquitoes can detect you more easily by sight if you’re wearing clothes that contrast with the color of your skin or your background. Wearing dark clothes against light skin is one example of why you might be more attractive to mosquitoes than someone wearing camouflage.
Though wearing camouflage-print clothing might be an extreme means to avoid mosquito bites, there are other ways to make clothing less of an issue. When outside during mosquito seasons, simply wear clothing that more closely matches your skin tone. Or if you’re spending the day golfing on the green, wear a green outfit to blend in with your surroundings a little better.
3. They Love Your Cologne
Does your perfume or cologne smell like flowers? Then don’t wear it outside around mosquitoes! Two things mosquitoes love are flowers (males eat flower nectar) and blood. Eliminate the smell of the first and you’ll be bitten less often for the second.
Palmetto Pest Control reminds us that many of our skin and hair care products could be attracting mosquitoes too, because of their lactic acid and floral scents.
2. They Love You More If You’re Pregnant
A study of mosquitoes and the spread of malaria showed that pregnant women were bitten more often than non-pregnant women. This is believed to be because of the significant changes in physiology and behavior during pregnancy.
For example, pregnant women (in advanced stages) exhale more often than non-pregnant women, creating more mosquito-attracting carbon dioxide and moisture from their breath.
Also, pregnant women have higher body temperatures than non-pregnant women, especially in their abdomens. This heat and the chemicals that release from it could be helping mosquitoes detect pregnant bodies more often than others.
1. What to Do When Mosquitoes Love You?
Even if the mosquitoes love you best, you can still take measures to minimize your exposure to their bite. Avoid being outside at peak hours of mosquito activity, like at sunrise and sunset. When you do go outside, consider first applying a safe and effective mosquito repellent approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. If mosquito bites are a significant concern, invest in some mosquito netting for extra protection.Related: 11 Plants That Help Keep Mosquitoes Away