Do Mosquitos Bite Certain People More Than Others?


| 1 Comment
When I was younger, I lived in Atlanta, GA for five years.  The hot and humid climate was bad enough, but the mosquitos that accompanied it were even worse.  I would pile on the bug spray when I went outside, yet still turn polka-dotted in 15 minutes.  Some of my other friends could play outside all day and not get any.  I'd ask my loving mom why I got more bug bites than the other kids and she would always say, "It's because you're so sweet!"  While it was nice to think that at least I had a nice personality and that was why I was being eaten alive, I decided to look to science for a more empirical answer.  

I found out I was not alone, according to an article by NBC news, an estimated 20% of the population is an extreme mosquito magnet like myself.  There are actual several reasons why certain people are more susceptible to these little blood-suckers, as referenced in a Washington Post article.  The first of which is blood type...consider a spectrum, Type B blood is the middle, Type O blood on the far right with the most bug bites, and Type A on the far left with the least.  Type O actually receives an average of two times the bites as Type A! (So I am guessing that I am a Type O blood type.)  

mosquito6a.jpg

The image above is a mosquito attacking, a fun fact about mosquitos (or gross fact, however you choose to look at it), is that only female mosquitos bite!  

Another factor that goes into how many bites you get is the amount of carbon dioxide you emit.  Carbon dioxide attracts mosquitos vastly, and people that are larger, pregnant, or have a higher metabolic rate give off more carbon dioxide (NBC News).  Other reasons include higher body temperature, brightness of color worn, as well as genetics, which according to an article in the Smithsonian, account for approximately 85% of the difference.  Hopefully one day scientists will be able to figure out a way to modify these genes so that us in the unfortunate 20% can be bite-free!  


Sources

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/07/why-do-mosquitoes-bite-some-people-more-than-others/

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-07-22/national/40723132_1_blood-type-body-temperature-hormones

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/why-some-people-are-mosquito-magnets-1C6437380

Image: http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/mosquito6a.jpg

1 Comment

I am glad that you posted this article because I attract mosquitoes in the summer like flowers attract bees. When I leave the country, it seems as if I attract more of these suckers, leaving me with blood battle wounds all over my body. When I went to Paris this past June, I was completely wrapped in a thick blanket and had window open all night. The next morning I woke up with about 15 intensely itchy bug bites all over my stomach. I was so freaked out and confused with how I got all of those bites after I was completely covered in a blanket, maybe our hotel was infested with bed bugs?! Nope, it was mosquito bites (my best friend and I googled images of both bites and bed bug bites did not match up to what I had). This also happens to me when I visit my family in Lebanon and I feel like I am the only person that gets attacked. I am unaware of my blood type so I am assuming that I have the blood type that attracts them as well as secrete certain acids and have high concentrated levels of steroids or cholesterol layered on top of my skin. Whatever the reason may be, these pesky things are my only issue with my favorite season of the year and hopefully scientists can figure out a permanent repellent that could help people like us out.

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