Why Do Some People Attract Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are pesky insects that inflict itchy bites. They are also carriers of diseases, like dengue, malaria and yellow fever. Mosquitoes can transmit diseases to humans as well as animals. So, mosquito control is one of the important aspects of keeping these diseases at bay. But, what attracts mosquitoes to bite humans? These insects seem to sense the presence of humans and reach their host within a few seconds. Various studies have been conducted with regard to this phenomenon.
It is a common fact, that the female mosquitoes inflict bites, as they require blood, to develop eggs. Studies show that these mosquitoes get attracted to humans by the scents emitted from the human body. According to these studies, human skin emits around 340 types of chemical scents that attract mosquitoes. Apart from these scents, there are various other factors that are responsible for making humans prone to mosquito bites. The following are some among them.
- It has been suggested by experts, that the carbon dioxide exhaled by humans is one of the most important factors that attract mosquitoes. These insects can sense the presence of carbon dioxide and track the prey. This is a proven fact, as mosquito traps with carbon dioxide baits are found to be very effective. However, carbon dioxide is released by almost all living things; and so, there should be some other factor that draws mosquitoes to humans.
- The carbon dioxide exhaled by humans carry the chemical scents produced by the body. Mosquitoes can sense such scents, along with carbon dioxide, and this helps them in finding their host. It is said that, the scent of lactic acid is quite strong, and is released in considerable amounts during exertion. Apart from physical activity, release of lactic acid happens in the body, if the person consumes certain foods, like those with high potassium or salt content.
- It has also been suggested that, during exhalation, humans release carbon dioxide along with octenol (a type of alcohol), and this mixture attracts mosquitoes. This attractant is so strong for mosquitoes that they can sense it from a distance of more than a 100 feet.
- Apart from these factors, body heat and moisture attract mosquitoes to humans. In general, it is said that, body heat attracts mosquitoes; but different species of mosquitoes are attracted to different body temperatures. According to that, they are attracted to different locations. While the breath of humans contain traces of moisture in the form of water vapor, another source of moisture is sweat, along with the attractant scents.
- Other factors that attract mosquitoes to humans are body movements, which can be sensed by changes in the light waves around the host. It is also suggested that, dark-colored clothes attract mosquitoes.