Why Mosquitoes Love You
Here's why mosquitoes may 'like' you more than others.
Scientists have found that mosquitoes are attracted to certain body odors.
Carbon dioxide is a surefire way to attract mosquitoes, but did you know that they're also attracted to certain body odors? Researchers from the University of California Riverside have discovered that these annoying blood-suckers have receptors around their mouths called cap neurons that can detect odors emitted from our skin, especially our feet. This could explain why you're always bitten near your ankles.
The smelly study
The Riverside researchers got participants to rub their feet on glass beads that were then placed in the same room as mosquitoes. These mosquitoes were immediately able to locate the smelly beads. They later found that when they shut down the mosquitoes' CO2 receptor neuron, they were not as attracted to the foot odor.
Mosquitoes can carry dangerous diseases
Malaria. West Nile. Dengue Fever. The current study means we can hopefully find better ways to not just block itch-inducing bites, but also prevent diseases. According to the study that appeared in the journal, Cell, "These findings open up very realistic possibilities of developing ways to use simple, natural, affordable and pleasant odors to prevent mosquitoes from finding humans," said senior author Anandasankar Ray.
Other reasons why you attract mosquitoes
As reported by Huffington Post, "One in 10 people are highly attractive to mosquitoes," Jerry Butler, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Florida, told WebMD. Here are some reasons:
If you're big: Bigger people produce more carbon dioxide. This is why adults are more likely to be bitten than children, or why men are more likely to be bitten than their female friends.
If you just exercised: Mosquitoes are attracted to lactic acid after you work out. Also, heavy and quick breathing is a way to build up mosquito-biting carbon dioxide.
If you smell appetizing (to them): As HuffPo reports, "Scientists believe that some people may give off stronger scents than others, even though everyone produces these compounds."
Do you think mosquitoes "like" you more?