It turns out that not all humans are created equal when it comes to mosquito attraction. Certain blood types mosquitoes love more, so you may be a bigger target than the average joe. You’ve probably noticed this if you’re the person who gets covered in red itchy bites at a barbecue while your companions get off scot-free. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this tendency to be attacked by mosquitoes, because it boils down to genetics.
Approximately 20 percent of people are especially attractive to mosquitoes and therefore get bitten more often than others. There are a number of genetic factors that influence this, and one of the major variables is blood type. Since female mosquitoes need our blood to produce eggs, it makes sense that they have a preference about what kind of blood they drink.
According to a study in the Journal of Medical Entomology, here’s how the blood types stack up:
Blood Types Mosquitoes Love Most
- Type O: The study found that people with Type O blood have mosquitoes land on them the most frequently, making it the most popular blood type.
- Type B: Type B came in second, somewhere between Type O and Type A in popularity.
- Type A: Type A was the least popular blood type, so those with Type A are half as likely to be bitten than those with Type O.
In addition, 85 percent of people excrete a chemical that lets mosquitoes know what type of blood they have. These people are more attractive to mosquitoes than the other 15 percent—regardless of blood type.
Blood type isn’t the only factor that influences how much mosquitoes like you. Other genetic risk factors include:
Genetic reasons why you are more attractive to mosquitoes
- Certain chemicals produced by your skin. Lactic acid, for example, attracts mosquitoes.
- Your metabolic rate, or how much carbon dioxide (CO2) your body releases. Mosquitoes detect their next blood meal using CO2, so they are drawn to those who release more of the gas, including pregnant women and larger individuals.
- The amount of bacteria on your skin. Large amounts of a few types of bacteria make your skin tastier to mosquitoes.
Of course, there are other non-genetic factors that are thought to determine how attractive you are to a mosquito. If possible, try to avoid these habits when mosquitoes are around:
Environmental factors that attract mosquitoes
- Drinking beer, which raises your metabolic rate and body temperature.
- Exercising, which raises your metabolic rate, increases your body temperature, and releases lactic acid.
- Sweating, which produces octenol, a chemical that attracts mosquitoes.
- Wearing dark clothing.
Unfortunately, if you’re a larger individual with Type O blood who sweats a lot and produces lactic acid, you are simply more prone to mosquito bites. While you can’t change your chemical makeup or your blood type, you can take precautions to protect yourself against mosquitoes. Apply DEET-based repellents and wear light-colored, protective clothing when outside.
To keep mosquitoes from bugging you in your own backyard, contact DC Mosquito Squad today. We provide effective solutions to keep the mosquitoes at bay to evict unwanted pests and help you stay itch-free.