LIFE

Mosquitoes: Seven Reasons Why They May Bite You More Than Others

by Rebecca Endicott
Becca is a writer and aspirational dog owner living in NYC.

There’s nothing more blissful than a lazy summer day slowly turning into a warm summer night!

That is, until the mosquitoes start to come out.

Unlike many bugs that may actually be beneficial for your life, these irritating pests do nothing but raise itchy welts and, in many cases, spread disease.

You can check out our guide to learn how to treat and prevent annoying bug bites, but what about the central unexplained mystery? Why is it that you’re getting eaten alive all summer long, while some of your friends get away without a single itch or bump?

Well, it comes down to a handful of factors, ranging from your chosen evening activities to simple biochemistry.

Mosquitoes, like many insects, have their own ways of figuring out which humans are enticing to them.

Scroll through the gallery below to learn what exactly causes mosquitoes to target you, and which habits you can change to reduce your chances of getting nibbled by the summer’s ickiest insects.

Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr

Mosquitoes 101

Mosquitoes 101
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Mosquitoes are small, flying, biting insects that feed on human and animal blood.

Surprisingly, it’s not all mosquitoes that cause you harm: male mosquitoes are harmless, and only female mosquitoes bite, because they use the nutrients to sustain larvae.

Still, even just half of the mosquito population does plenty of damage; they carry a number of dangerous diseases, including West Nile virus, malaria, and the notorious Zika virus, which can cause microcephaly in children.

They’re well worth avoiding, so it’s a great idea to get a sense of what qualities might draw in these pests.

Mosquito Magnet #1: You Worked Up A Sweat

Mosquito Magnet #1: You Worked Up A Sweat
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Mosquitoes aren’t drawn to fresh sweat, but if you work up a sweat and let it dry, the mosquitoes will come flocking to you, according to Mercola.

That’s because mosquitoes tend to flock to sources of bacteria, drawn in by the smell.

Stinky feet from walking all day, sweaty gardening clothes that are dry, and body odor can all entice mosquitoes in for a bite.

Mosquito Magnet #2: You Like An Evening Out

Mosquito Magnet #2: You Like An Evening Out
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According to pest control company Megacatch, mosquitoes bite during the day or the night, depending on species.

However, there are more species that enjoy the evening hours, which tend to provide the perfect balance between nighttime humidity and daytime heat.

If you are also trying to enjoy the comfortable evening hours, you may find that your terrace dinner plans end up feeding the insects, too.

Mosquito Magnet #3: You’re Breathing Hard

Mosquito Magnet #3: You’re Breathing Hard
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Mosquitoes, like many other bugs, just love carbon dioxide.

In other words, the stuff that humans constantly, unavoidably breathe out is essentially mosquito catnip.

According to NIH, CO2 lets the pests know exactly where their next meal is coming from, which is why exercising and panting might bring them out of hiding.

Mosquito Magnet #4: You’re On The Move

Mosquito Magnet #4: You’re On The Move
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Mosquitoes also sense movements in the air.

They may not necessarily see you moving, but when you stir the air, whether by doing jumping jacks at dusk or just walking briskly to your car, you could be letting the bugs know exactly where you are.

According to the Modern Survival Blog, you can combat this by saving outdoor exercise for a different time of the day, and keeping away from large sweeping movements that will highlight your presence.

Mosquito Magnet #5: It’s Just In Your Genes

Mosquito Magnet #5: It’s Just In Your Genes
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To a certain extent, you may just be born with a tendency to attract mosquitoes.

According to WebMD, mosquitoes are drawn naturally to people who excrete more cholesterol when they sweat.

These aren’t people who necessarily have cholesterol-heavy diets, in many cases, but their bodies may just be more efficient at processing it. If you may fit that description, consider taking extra precautions.

Mosquito Magnet #6: You Need A Key Vitamin

Mosquito Magnet #6: You Need A Key Vitamin
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Some studies indicate that thiamine could help to repel mosquitoes.

According to Mercola, studies in the 1960s suggest that thiamine in your blood will make mosquitoes think you’re smelly.

Thiamine, also known as B1, is a vitamin everyone needs in some dose, so check with your doctor to see if this is something you could have as a supplement in your diet.

Mosquito Magnet #7: You’re In A Crowd

Mosquito Magnet #7: You’re In A Crowd
Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Not too surprisingly, mosquitoes love a good crowd, especially if it’s a crowd that forms in the evening.

Body heat, tons of exhalations, lots and lots of sweat: mosquitoes will flood to all of that.

Fortunately, there is a silver lining; if you happen to be at an evening dance party at the beach, get to the middle of the crowd. Mosquitoes will target the wallflowers first.

Are you a person who seems to attract mosquitoes no matter what? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to SHARE this guide with friends and family!