Are you the kind of person that seems to be swarmed my mosquito bites minutes after going outside? After a bonfire or outdoor game, are your arms and legs covered with itchy, red bumps? Can no amount of bug spray save you?
There are a lot of questions in the scientific community as to why some people are more likely to be bitten by mosquitos than others. But one thing is for sure: genetics and body chemistry has something to do with it. About one in ten people are more attractive to mosquitos than everyone else. And although there are a ton of secondary reasons for that (i.e. drinking alcohol or wearing dark colors), the key factors are genetics and chemical make-up.
But the reasons that figuring out just what it is about you that sends mosquitos into a frenzy is that there are 150 types of mosquitos in the United States alone, and they all have their own preferences.
It works like this: female mosquitos (because they are actually the only ones who bite–who knew?) suck the blood from your body to feed their eggs. And because the mother’s only want to feed the best blood to their children, their sense of smell has developed to source out the best food in up to a 100 mile radius. Your chemical make-up gives off a distinct odor, and if the mosquitos like it, then they’ll be coming for you. This isn’t a horror movie, it’s just nature.
Many experiments have been done to try to isolate the factors that attract mosquitos most. One such test seemed to prove that Type O blood was much more desirable than Type A. Other results pointed to the amount of sweat on a person, or carbon dioxide levels in the blood stream. And the most definite element (though still being studied) was the presence of lactic acid in the body, which can be caused by eating foods like cheese, yogurt, or pickles, or by completing vigorous exercise. But the issue is still up for debate, as no one knows for sure.
And if you’re reading this and thinking, “well I never get mosquito bites anyway,” then, sorry to break it to you, but you are blissfully unaware of what’s happening. Many, MANY, more people are bit than we think, but some people go on without ever showing symptoms. It has to do with an allergic reaction to the mosquito, and the saliva left behind when they bite. You could be bitten without ever knowing.
So the obvious truth is that you can’t stop mosquitos from singling you out, but if you are one of the lucky few who finds themselves being “eaten alive” when they go out at dusk, there are a few things you can do to try fix it. The most obvious being to cover as much of your skin as possible–wear long sleeves and pants whenever you can. In addition, go out and buy plants that repel the bugs, like citronella, lemongrass and rosemary, and put them around your patio for a natural barrier.
[Featured Image Credit: www.wbrcouncil.org]