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ScottyMcGeester's avatar

Why is it that sometimes mosquitoes are attracted to one person and not others?

Asked by ScottyMcGeester (1014 points ) August 13th, 2014

We have a little mosquito issue at home, and it’s been going on for about a week now. The weird thing is the mosquitoes are ONLY biting my mom. My dad and I have been completely unaware until my mom started complaining that they were biting her. But they haven’t been biting us. She has mosquito bites all over her legs.

Come to think of it, whenever we’re around mosquitoes in the woods or whatever, they generally go after my mom and not my dad and I.

How could this be? Could she have something in her bloodstream that she has more of that they like?

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15 Answers

jca's avatar

I read that mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, and some people give off more of it than others (not sure if it’s only through exhaling or if it also comes out of/off of people’s skin, too).

snowberry's avatar

I’ve noticed this too. They love my daughter but not me quite as much. Sometimes I jokingly ask her to take a walk with me so I won’t get bit.

A quick Internet search tells me that B vitamins (B-12 and B-1 are mentioned particularly) can help make you not quite so delicious. And of course carbon dioxide, but we all produce that.

JLeslie's avatar

They love me! I know there have been studies done that prove some people indeed attract Mosquitos more than others, it isn’t just some thing that is said like an old wives tale.

Some things I have read don’t fit me at all. Supposedly people who are overweight are more likely to attract Mosquitos because they are more likely to exhale more CO2. I have been being eaten alive since I was a skinny little girl. I have read blood type can be a factor, but I remember not having the blood type thought to attract Mosquitos, I just don’t remember which one it is. I have read beer drinkers attract them, I never drink beer.

I also have read it probably mostly is simply something genetic. We are born with whatever thing it is that causes the bugs to love us. Bees love me too.

I was told a long time ago wearing black clothing attracts bees and Mosquitos, especially if you break it up with a contrasting color. I used to wear a lot of black, but I didn’t as a young child and don’t as much now. I still get bitten. One of the studies I saw had people put their hand in a container full of mosquitos. In this study clothing was not a factor, nor some of the other theories. There still were some people who were bitten significantly more than others. I don’t remember the conclusions of that particular study, I just remember thinking how much the Mosquitos love me.

Lastly, there is a theory about certain bacterias on the skin. We all have bacteria on our skin’ but each of us have a certain mix of them and possibly that attracts Mosquitos. I personally have my doubts about this theory, but not really for any scientific reason.

rojo's avatar

Sometimes I wonder if it does not have to do with the various creams, lotions and soaps that people use. I know I do not have as much a problem that others have, particularly when they are around. Given a choice the bugs would rather bite them than me. I am kind of the meal of last resort.

JLeslie's avatar

I have used different soap and lotions throughout my life and the mosquitos always come to me. For a few years now I use baby soap that is unscented and I don’t use body lotion 90% of the time.

However, I admit that I don’t use perfume, because I feel that it might attract more insects than already want to attack me.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie Maybe genetic or not. As a child I used to be “delicious” but now I rarely get bit and I’m outside in mosquito heaven for a half hour or more every night. I think I just got mean enough I don’t taste good anymore.

ibstubro's avatar

Like @snowberry I was a mosquito magnet as a kid, but don’t seem to attract them more or less than anyone else as an adult.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry LOL. I’ll work on that meanness thing as a repellent. Next time I lose my temper with my husband I will tell him I am working on a scientific expirement.

filmfann's avatar

Mosquitoes like iron rich blood.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m anemic. A huge struggle for me to keep my iron up. I have to take large doses, which I don’t always do, and then my numbers drop like crazy again.

kritiper's avatar

It may depend on what you eat, what smells from that food are emanating from your pores at that moment. When you bathed last. Are you wearing deodorant, aftershave or cologne? Smoke seems to follow beauty, why not mosquitoes?

RocketGuy's avatar

I have a friend who has bad breath – mosquitoes attack her husband instead.

I heard that eating a lot of chillis and/or garlic will make you undesirable to mosquitoes too.

KNOWITALL's avatar

They never bite me. I eat lots of garlic, am anemic & use no perfumes. They bite my neighbors a lot though.

ibstubro's avatar

Seems there are multiple links to anemia?

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