- If you've ever felt that mosquitoes specifically target you more than your friends, you could be right.
- Female mosquitoes - which are the ones that drink blood - are attracted to some humans more than others.
- They hunt by both sight and smell, and love smelly soaps, perfumes, and other fragrances. They also flock to brightly-coloured clothing.
- Your blood type also plays a role. People with Type O blood get bitten twice as frequently as people with type A.
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If you've ever felt that mosquitoes specifically target you more than your friends, you could be right.
Female mosquitoes - which are the ones that drink blood - are attracted to some humans more than others.
Unfortunately, 85% of what makes you attractive to mosquitoes is pre-wired in your genetic circuit board, whether that be blood type, natural chemical, bacteria or CO2 levels, metabolism, or stink and stench.
Blood type O seems to be the vintage of choice over types A and B or their blend. People with blood type O get bitten twice as often as those with type A, with type B falling somewhere in between.
Those who have higher natural levels of certain chemicals in their skin, particularly lactic acid, also seem to be more attractive.
From these elements, she can analyse which blood type you are. These are the same chemicals that determine an individual's level of skin bacteria and unique body odour.
While you may offend others and perhaps yourself, in this case, being pungently rancid is a good thing, for it increases bacteria levels on the skin, which make you less alluring to mosquitoes.
Cleanliness is not next to godliness, except for stinky feet, which emit a bacterium, the same one that ripens and rinds certain cheeses, that is a mosquito aphrodisiac.
Mosquitoes are also enticed by deodorants, perfumes, soaps, and other applied fragrances.
While this may seem unfair to many of you, and the reason remains a mystery, she also has an affinity for beer drinkers.
Wearing bright colours is also not a wise choice, since she hunts by both sight and smell, the latter depending chiefly on the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled by the potential target.
So all your thrashing and huffing and puffing only attracts mosquitoes and puts you at greater risk.
She can smell carbon dioxide from over 60 metres away. When you exercise, for example, you emit more carbon dioxide through both frequency of breath and output. You also sweat, releasing those appetizing chemicals, primarily lactic acid, that invites the mosquito's attention.
Lastly, your body temperature rises, which is an easily identifiable heat signature for your soon-to-be tormentor. On average, pregnant women suffer twice as many bites, as they respire 20% more carbon dioxide and have a marginally elevated body temperature. As we will see, this is bad news for the mother and the foetus when it comes to infection from the Zika virus and malaria.
But please don't go on a shower, deodorant, and exercise strike or shelve your beloved beer and bright T-shirts just yet.
At the end of the day, she will find blood from any exposed target of opportunity.
Excerpted from "The Mosquito" by Timothy Winegard.
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