Research indicates that approximately 20 percent of people are "mosquito magnets" and much more attractive to the buzzy little bloodsuckers than others. But what is it that makes some people irresistible blood slurps, while others get by unscathed? Turns out there is a multitude of factors at play.
The Amount of Carbon Dioxide You Produce
Carbon dioxide is one of the primary ways mosquitoes locate and identify their targets. So, simply put, the more of it you exhale, the more likely mosquitoes are to find you. Larger individuals, people exercising, and pregnant women all produce more carbon dioxide, increasing the odds they will get chomped.
Your Blood Type
Do you have Type O blood? Bad news. Mosquitoes are almost twice as likely to land on you as somebody with Type A, according to a recent study. If you're Type B, you fall somewhere in between. Interestingly, most people (85 percent) also secrete a chemical that indicates their blood type. Those that do not are less attractive to mosquitoes than their secreting friends, regardless of blood type.
Mosquitoes are attracted to warmer bodies, which again makes pregnant women (who average more than a degree warmer) and people exercising more likely targets.
Whether You're Pregnant
As mentioned above, pregnant women exhale more carbon dioxide and have higher body temperatures than the average individual. These two factors are likely the primary reason why pregnant women get bitten approximately twice as much as their non-child-bearing friends.
One study found that drinking just one 12-ounce beer makes you more attractive to mosquitoes, though it was unclear exactly what was piquing the mosquitoes' interest.
The Color of Your Clothing
Mosquitoes are more attracted to darker colors—black, blue, brown, etc.—at least in part due to the fact that darker colors absorb (and emit) more heat than lighter colors like yellow, white, and beige.
Who You're Standing Next To
If you are one of the unlucky 20 percent who are particularly attractive to mosquitoes, I'm sorry. If you're not, I suggest you figure out who is—and stick close to them when mosquitoes are around.
Learn more about mosquitoes and insect repellents:
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.