Mosquito bites can be very annoying, especially if we are the target of these insects, while our partner or the rest of the people around us are spared their bites inexplicably. But does this really have no explanation? Far from what is believed, mosquitoes do not bite because they have sweet blood. In fact, its olfactory system is not able to smell our blood, but it is able to smell the smells emitted by our skin.
If after reading this you are suspecting it you are suspecting it, we confirm it: yes, mosquitoes bite us because of our body odor. If you want to know more, then in, we explain why mosquitoes bite some people more than others. Notes!
Why mosquitoes bite some people more than others
Hot seasons arrive and with them mosquitoes appear. But have you ever wondered what the relationship is? Really, what bites us is not mosquitoes, but female mosquitoes. Mosquitoes (both males and females) feed mainly on nectar. However, during the breeding season the females must feed on blood to lay their eggs thanks to the proteins found in these fluids. And, precisely, for the eggs to be born one of the requirements is a certain degree of heat and humidity, among other things.
Myths about mosquito bites
Many times, we have been able to hear (and even believe) various theories about why one person is bitten by more mosquitoes than another, such as:
- Mosquitoes bite those with sweet blood.
- Mosquitoes bite babies by tender skin.
- Mosquitoes bite clean people, and they don't bite those who don't shower.
However, we regret to say that all this is not true. According to various researches, what attracts mosquitoes is not our blood that, in addition, can neither smell nor is sweet, but salty (except for diabetics, who have a higher concentration of blood sugar).
They are also not attracted to the texture of our skin or driven away by body sweat. What's more, what attracts them is, in fact, what our sweat gives off. Although there is still a lot to investigate, below, we explain everything that is known so far in more detail.
What attracts mosquitoes
According to various scientific researches, what they have been able to assure so far about why mosquitoes bite some people more than others, is the following:
- CO2: Mosquitoes have a certain predilection for the CO2 we exhale. Therefore, the bigger or more corpulent a person is, the more CO2 it will give off. In this way, between a baby and an adult, the mosquito is more likely to bite the adult.
- Lactic acid: another thing that most attracts mosquitoes is the lactic acid that we give off in sweat. This is more present in people who are very sweaty or who do sports frequently. Similarly, the later a person showers, the more sweat and lactic acid will have accumulated in the body, a feast for mosquitoes.
- Pregnant women: For some strange reason, pregnant women are more likely to attract a type of African mosquito that can spread Zika. That is why it is very important in pregnancy periodic check-ups with the doctor.
- Beers: drinking beers, especially at night, can favor mosquito bites, since the chemical reaction that occurs in our body expels aromas through the pores of our skin that attracts these insects.
- Genetics: after several studies, it has been shown that genetics is a determining factor when it comes to being the chosen ones of mosquitoes. However, it is not yet known exactly which genes make us more attractive to mosquitoes. However, a study that was conducted with identical and non-identical twins, determined that the identical ones were bitten by mosquitoes in approximately equal parts, while the non-identical ones were more uneven. This is because identical twins have very similar genetics.
- Cheese smell: A recent study showed that Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes have a special predilection for the smell of “Limgurger cheese” cheese. Interestingly, there is a variety of bacteria that lives on the feet of some people that makes their feet give off a smell similar to this cheese, so this explains why mosquitoes bite them on their ankles or feet.
You may also be interested in How to Avoid Mosquito Bites.
Before I was not bitten by mosquitoes and now, I am
Sometimes, it may be the case that long ago we were not bitten by mosquitoes and now we are, or vice versa. When in previous times we were bitten by mosquitoes a lot, and now they seem to have forgotten about us, it does not mean that today there are fewer mosquitoes (which it can also be) or that something happens to you because you have heard that mosquitoes do not bite the sick. It is, only, a change in your body. Many times, this occurs with the passage from childhood to adolescence, or from adolescence to adulthood.
In these cases, our hormones change, which can lead to changes in sweating, changes in the aromas we expel and, above all, changes in diet. We must bear in mind that food is a key factor in terms of our body odors, since it depends on what we ingest, so we will smell.
To this day it is not clear what foods make us develop this passion in mosquitoes. However, it has been shown that vegetarians tend to be less prone to their bites. Is it because of animal meat?
How to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes
To avoid being bitten by female mosquitoes, the ideal is that you follow a series of indications. However, if mosquitoes bite you because of your genetics… you can do little!
- Shower every day: especially in the mornings and at bedtime, which is when mosquitoes are most active. In this way, you will eliminate sweat from your body and, with it, all the pheromones attractive to them.
- Stop drinking beer: especially at night, as your body will begin to secrete substances attractive to mosquitoes just before you go to sleep, which would make you a perfect target for them.
- Bacteria: On the other hand, many bacteria present on our skin are a natural source against mosquitoes. For some reason, these little insects don't like some of our microorganisms.
- Food: If you've been lucky enough to spot which foods mosquitoes bite you the most, avoid them. At least, until the mosquitoes disappear.
- Perfume: Frequently using perfumes and colognes can also attract mosquitoes that, feeling a strong smell on your body, become confused with the smell of sweat. Therefore, if you have a habit of perfume yourself and you are bitten by mosquitoes a lot, try to stop using colognes and perfumes.
Now that you know why mosquitoes bite some people more than others, you may also be interested in this other article Make a Mosquito Trap.