Mosquito repellent (Shutterstock: see credit below)
Article 18 May

5 reasons why you get bitten by mosquitoes

In the best case, mosquitoes are incredibly irritating. In the worst case, they carry deadly diseases. But what attracts them to humans? And why do some people get bitten more than others? Here are 5 clinically-proven reasons...

1. Your breath smells GREAT

For mosquitoes, “any type of carbon dioxide is attractive, even over a long distance,” according to Joe Conlon PhD, technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association – so it is almost inevitable that we will attract the occasional insect.

Mosquitoes use an organ called the maxillary palp to detect carbon dioxide, and can detect it from over 150 feet away. So animals who exhale more CO2 naturally have an increased likelihood of attracting insects.

2. The more active, the more attractive

Exercise produces more sweat, body heat and increases our CO2 emission, so we're more obvious to mozzies and our blood is tastier.

Not only is there more delectable detritus (organic material made up of dead skin and other waste products) building up on the skin when we exercise, but our increased breathing rate means our CO2 emission is higher.

Mozzies also hunt down their victims by detecting lactic acid, uric acid and ammonia, all of which are produced through intense exercise.

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3. They like beer

Evidence suggests that those who enjoy a boozy drink or two are more likely to be bitten by insects – this is because it affects your sweat production and skin temperature.

Mosquito on skin (Shutterstock)
Mosquito on skin (Shutterstock)

4. You're lovely and warm

Pregnant women attract double the amount of mosquitoes as they are about a degree warmer than other people, and they exhale roughly 20% more carbon dioxide. Tasty.

5. You have great taste in clothes

Wearing dark clothing can make you stand out to a mosquito; reds and purples are particularly vibrant for mosquitoes. To reduce your chance of being bitten, simply wear light coloured clothing.


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Thanks to our friends at incognito for their tips for this article.
Main image: Mosquito repellent (Shutterstock)