Why do mosquitos like me?

If it seems that mosquitos seek you out more often than they do other individuals, well you may not be imagining things, they really may find you to be a more attractive target than the fellow standing next to you.

When searching for their next meal mosquitoes are definitely more attracted to some people than they are to others. Specific individuals are sought out and dined on much more frequently than their counterparts but do you know why these individuals are more attractive to mosquitoes?
Aha Gotcha!

Believe it or not a mosquito may like you more than someone else simply because the mosquito is actually able to locate you easier than they can other people. You just may be a little easier for the mosquito to spot. 

It is a fact that mosquitoes manage to locate some individuals much quicker than they can others and so these individuals may be much more likely to become the mosquitoes food choice simply for the sake of convenience. (I guess you could call that fast food mosquito style. Oh yummy.)

So exactly why are you always the one that mosquitoes seem to find first? To figure this out let's take a little look at how and why mosquitoes search out their prey.

It is only the female mosquito that bites. This is because the female requires blood to nourish her developing eggs. She is the one responsible for providing the necessary proteins to her developing eggs and she comes well equipped to accomplish this task. 

Female mosquitoes have at their disposal a number of methods of searching for food. Her body is equipped with visual, heat, and chemical sensors, and she uses every one of these devices to find her intended target. And make no mistake about on issue, she is searching for food to feed her young and she classifies you as food.

So why does she choose you over the guy sitting next to you? 

It is a fact that mosquitoes find some targets easier to locate than others. This means that you may be one of the targets that is simply easier to find even though there are other folks nearby or even surrounding you.

Now this lack of ability for you to hide in a crowd could be because you have a warmer body temperature or because you are more visible, or simply because you tend to emit more of the chemical scents that female mosquitoes find absolutely irresistible. 

Forget the other guys, she is drawn to your presence and heading straight in your direction. (Don't you wish that the dating world could be so easy?)

There are over 300 known chemicals emitted by the human body and mosquitoes are able to pick up on some of these chemical compounds to locate their prey. If you are one of those unfortunate individuals who emit the chemicals that attract mosquitoes then you may find yourself being selected for dinner.
Scientists are not quite sure why but certain chemicals within human sweat seem to attract female mosquitoes to their prey. So if you are a person who sweats more than the other people around you then your sweat may be the reason why a certain soon to be mama can locate and dine on you more often than she would other individuals. 

The amount that you sweat is not the only determining factor in a mosquitoes decision to have you for lunch so there is still hope that you may not be selected for consumption. 

Once a mosquito lands on you a simple test of your skin will tell her if you are indeed a desirable meal or not. If the mosquito finds the chemicals on your skin to be distasteful then she will move on to a more appealing meal.

Another key means of her selecting a free meal is the scent of carbon dioxide. Mosquitoes can smell carbon dioxide within a sixty to seventy-five foot radius of themselves. If you are out there and within their range then they are going to be picking up on the carbon dioxide that you exhale with every breath. 

If you have a large lung capacity or are more active, and therefore emitting a larger amount of carbon dioxide than others around you then a female mosquito just may be able to locate you a little easier than the rest of the pack.
Carbon dioxide is just one of the many chemical messages that
we send out to mosquitoes. Lactic acid is another chemical that influences whether a mosquito will choose to dine on you. Lactic acid is found within sour milk products, some fruits, and fermented foods.

Lactic acid is also a byproduct produced by the muscles during specific exercise conditions and can be found in varying degrees within our blood, on our skin, and within our sweat. Mosquitoes seem to chemically sense the degree of lactic acid in humans and can be attracted or repelled by the scent.

Although the majority of mosquitoes are repelled by lactic acid on human skin, the mosquito that spreads yellow fever was actually attracted to lactic acid which put these test results under the microscope for further study. The verdict currently seems to be that most mosquitoes are repelled by lactic acid. 

Mosquitoes also come equipped with heat and humidity sensors. They can pick up on the body heat and moisture that your body emits and use these as a means of locating you. If you are more active or have a higher body temperature then she may use these cues to locate you.
Mosquitoes also have excellent eyesight and if you are in their line of vision and moving then they are more likely to pinpoint onto you. The type of clothing that you wear will also influence your ability to be noticed. Dark colors retain heat and are therefore more attractive to mosquitoes. While light colors refract heat and are less appealing to mosquitoes. 

Your size may also be a determining factor. A six foot tall male who weighs 300 pounds is much more likely to be visible to a mosquito than a 45 pound child would be. Movement is another factor and a moving figure will be much more easily seen than a sedentary one.

Although many people swear by specific foods for attracting or repelling mosquitoes, there is no absolute proof that consuming any one food is a determining factor in the number of mosquitoes bites that you will receive.

If you are one of those unfortunate individuals that mosquitoes find absolutely irresistible then perhaps try a few of these tricks.

Wear long sleeves and pants during cool afternoon or evening hours.

Consider hanging a few birdfeeders in your yard. Birds enjoy chowing down on a good mosquito every now and then. For the ultimate in mosquito eating buddies you could also pop a pond into your backyard and invite the regal dragonfly, frogs, and fish to reside there. The dragonfly in larva and adult form will reduce mosquito populations. The freshwater mosquito fish (that is indeed its name) have a voracious appetite for mosquitos and will happily gulp down as many as their tummy will hold.

If you want to repel mosquitoes from your backyard there are specific plants that mosquitoes simply do not like. Growing these plants close to your outdoor seating area may help to reduce the number of mosquito visitors that you receive during the summer months. 

Some outdoor plants that are very good for repelling mosquitoes are Catnip, Citronella grass, Clove, Cedar, Eucalyptus, Garlic, Lavender, Lemon balm, Marigolds, Peppermint, and Rosemary. 

If you are planting catnip to thwart off mosquitoes be forewarned that your yard may suddenly become very popular with the neighborhood kitties. 

Although it's a tough one to call it would be my guess that being deluged with furry beasts is a little better than being surrounded by blood sucking vampire type creatures. Mind you I am a cat lover at heart. 

Also expect to see or find more mosquitoes near wet watery areas than in dry locals. Perhaps they enjoy a good day at the beach or out fishing as much as the rest of us folks do?
Now here is a little dab of trivia to add that extra dose of excitement to your next outdoor adventure. 

Did you know that next to man the mosquito is the world's most dangerous creature?

Each year mosquitoes still infect between 350 million and 500 million people with malaria. 

The mosquito kills more people world wide than any other creature out there (besides man that is). Kind of a scary thought huh? 

Have a great summer and remember to take time to play. It really is important. When you participate in pleasurable activities like smiling, laughing, exercising or playing your brain does an amazing thing and releases a little chemical message known as an endorphin.  

These endorphins are feel good messages that have the power to remove physical and emotional pain. They travel down the spine and then throughout your body sending a feeling of well being as they go. So don't forget to take time to play each day - it really is important.

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