Why do mosquitoes always bite me?

Why do mosquitoes always bite me?

Are you a mozzie magnet? Or are you one of those lucky people with natural mosquito repellent superpowers?

It turns out there really are two extremes — but if you’re one of the unlucky 20 per cent [1] of the population that gets bitten more often than everyone else, you probably already knew that.

So, apart from forgetting to use insect repellent, what makes some people more attractive to mozzies than others?

Mosquitoes have a keen sense of smell, apparently, and they have a thing for carbon dioxide. People who exhale more CO2 [2] tend to be targets. So that means larger people and those with high metabolic rates—or people who’ve just been exercising—are especially prone.

And as if pregnancy wasn’t uncomfortable enough, it also doubles your chances [3] of becoming a mozzie meal. Along with CO2, pregnant women also emit more heat — another thing mosquitoes love. When you sweat, they can smell the lactic acids on your skin and hair, and will start to home in …

Unfortunately, research has shown that the old home remedy of vitamin B doesn’t work, so if you’re a mozzie magnet, grab the mosquito repellent and insecticide to keep the suckers at bay.

BONUS FACT: Mozzies don’t bite us because they’re hungry — their primary food source is plant nectar [3]. Instead, they are seeking a protein that’s needed to develop their eggs [3] — that’s why it’s only female mosquitoes that have a nibble.



[1] Why some people are mosquito magnets, Cari Nierenberg, NBC News Health, 29 May 2011. nbcnews.com/health/why-some-people-are-mosquito-magnets-1C6437380

[2] FAQs on mosquitoes, New Jersey Mosquito Biology and Control, Center for Vector Biology. rci.rutgers.edu/~insects/mosfaq.htm

[3] Effect of pregnancy on exposure to malaria mosquitoes, Steve Lindsay PhD, Juliet Ansell PhD, Colin Selman PhD, Val Cox PhD, Katie Hamilton MSc, Gijs Walraven MD, The Lancet, Volume 355, Issue 9219, 3 June 2000. sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673600023345?np=y

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