[FACT OR FAKE #27] Mosquitoes Prefer Some People's Blood Over Others

There is a scientific reason behind why some people get bitten by mosquitoes more while others seem unaffected. Research shows many reasons, what are they exactly, we are here to find out in this week's Fact Or Fake.

Do Mosquitoes Really Prefer Some People More Than Others?

The short answer is yes. Mosquitoes do exhibit blood-sucking preferences, say the experts.

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New research explains mosquitoes’ apparent selectivity. An estimated 20 percent of people are “especially delicious” to mosquitoes. They are bitten more often than others.

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Did You Know: Mosquitoes have been around for over 30 million years!

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But it's not dinner they're sucking out of you. Female mosquitoes -- males do not bite people -- need human blood to develop fertile eggs. And apparently, not just anyone's will do.

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Why Is It So?

A number of factors are at play. Chief among them is blood type. Research shows that they find certain blood types more appetizing than others,” according to an article in Smithsonian magazine.

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Feeding the mosquitoes. (Vosshall Lab)

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One Of The Main Factor Is Blood Type

Type O is at the top of the list. Additionally, about 85 percent of people secrete a chemical signal that indicates their blood type; these “secretors” are more prone to bites regardless of their blood type.

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Carbon Dioxide Too Happens To Be One Of The Reasons Involved

One of the key ways mosquitoes locate their targets is by smelling the carbon dioxide emitted in their breath—they use an organ called a maxillary palp to do this, and can detect carbon dioxide from as far as 164 feet away.

smithsonianmag.com

As a result, people who simply exhale more of the gas over time—generally, larger people—have been shown to attract more mosquitoes than others.

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A culex quinquefasciatus mosquito. Reuters

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This is one of the reasons why children get bit less often than adults, on the whole.

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Exercise and Metabolism Plays Another Factor. In Other Words, If You Love Working Out, Mosquitoes Will Love Sucking Your Blood Out.

In addition to carbon dioxide, mosquitoes find victims at closer range by smelling the lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other substances expelled via their sweat, and are also attracted to people with higher body temperatures.

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Suddenly working out sounds so terrible.

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Because strenuous exercise increases the buildup of lactic acid and heat in your body, it likely makes you stand out to the insects. Meanwhile, genetic factors influence the amount of uric acid and other substances naturally emitted by each person, making some people more easily found by mosquitos than others.

smithsonianmag.com

And If You Are Expecting, Beware. Because Mosquitoes Are More Attracted Towards Pregnant Women.

Moms-to-be get bitten about twice as often as women who aren’t pregnant, increasing their risk for bug-borne diseases, according to a study conducted in Gambia.

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This is likely a result of the fact the unfortunate confluence of two factors: They exhale about 21 percent more carbon dioxide and are on average about 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than others.

smithsonianmag.com

Mosquitoes, Like Vampires, Prefer Dark Clothes

This one might seem absurd, but mosquitoes use vision (along with scent) to locate humans, so wearing colors that stand out may make you easier to find.

smithsonianmag.com

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In one study comparing the appeal of various hues to mosquitoes, the researchers reported the following results: black (most attractive); red (very attractive); grey and blue (neutral); khaki, green, light khaki, and yellow (less attractive).

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Also, If You Like To Drink Beer, Be Careful There

Swigging just one bottle of beer can significantly boost your risk of being bitten, according to a study published in Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association.

webmd.com

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No one has been able to pinpoint why drinking beer makes people more attractive to mosquitoes.

washingtonpost.com

Some have theorized that the elevation in body temperature and the amount of ethanol in sweat may play a role, but neither theory has panned out. Still, it appears that even a 12-ounce bottle is enough to do the trick.

wsj.com

How Can You Avoid Getting Bitten?

Female mosquitoes are driven to bite you as they need a blood meal to complete their reproductive cycle and produce fertile eggs, which takes a huge boost of protein. To reduce the chances of being bitten, wash with an antibacterial soap to reduce the volume of mosquito-attracting bacteria on your skin.

thedailybeast.com

Avoid the outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Set up an outdoor fan to shoo bugs away. And wear long trousers and shirts if it's not too hot.

wsj.com

Dr. Sheldon Cooper to the rescue, ladies.

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Experts also suggests spraying your clothing with repellent that contains DEET, a chemical that acts to confuse the mosquito's olfactory receptors.

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