Why Mosquitoes Love you more Than Others.
Many times I wonder, "Why do I always get bitten by mosquitos while my friends don't" Especially when I am in Asia, I get billions of mosquitos bites all over while the locals don't. The explanation my mom gives me is that I am a "foreigner" and they like fresh blood. I always found that explanation to be quite thin and dumb. Nonetheless, here are some non-mom explanation that professionals have come up with.
How does a mosquito find its target? According to a BBC news, a team led by Rockefeller University has found that mosquitoes target exhaled breath using protein receptors in the structure extending from their jaws. The lead researcher Professor Leslie Vosshall said: "Insects are especially sensitive to carbon dioxide, using it to track food sources and assess their surrounding environment." This would be an important discovery as at least one million people die of malaria world wide each year.
Besides carbon dioxide, let us take a look at other factors that lure the mosquitoes to us:
- Lactic acid that is released during exercise or consuming particular food.
- Body heat.
- Dark-coloured clothing (this together with body heat could be two major contributing factors to more bites for me as I like to wear black tee-shirt and I have high body heat).
- Perfumes, used in a range of body care products (e.g. shampoo, body shower cream, body lotion), also help mosquitoes identify a target.
Here are some of the theories that people have come up with.
Some theories involving gender were proposed and then discarded. One theory said that women were more likely to be bitten than men because mosquitoes are repelled by the strong odour of human sweat. Women who are deem to 'smell' better than men received greater attention from men. However, some men are bitten more than some women (and vice verse).
Another funny theory said that mosquitoes prefer thin-skinned people and thus women get bites more because women generally have thinner skin than men.
Third, it was theorised that women had some secret hormonal attractant that brought them to the attention of mosquitoes more than men. Even menstruation and ovulation could be factors in this. But such an attractant was never found. Gender does not now seem to be the all-important factor in mosquito "bite" susceptibility, according to The Register.
Nothing is set in stone yet, so don't go out there wearing light coloured, skimpy clothing in order to keep cool thinking mosquitoes would stay away. Best thing to do now is to carry a good insect repellent and pray that they're more interested in your friends.