Atlanta’s mosquito season is officially here, and that means the little buggers are eager to sink their sharp proboscis into your skin and suck your blood.
While the mosquitoes are likely to make nearly everyone at least a little miserable, certain qualities might leave some more vulnerable to bites than others.
Here are 5 things that make you more attractive to mosquitoes:
Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are twice as attracted to pregnant women as non-pregnant women. And mosquitoes in general are attracted to people who emit more carbon dioxide when they breathe, such as pregnant women or larger people.
Mosquitoes prefer people who like to drink over those who are sober. Part of the reason is that “alcohol makes your blood vessels dilate, and warm blood moves closer to the surface of your skin,” according to alcohol experts at Vine Pair. That warmth is especially attractive to mosquitoes.
If you’re sweaty, you’re more likely to be bit by a mosquito due to the lactic acid buildup and odor. When a mosquito lands on you, Florida neurogeneticist Matthew DeGennaro told NPR in March, “they actually can taste your skin with their legs and then they look for a place to bite.” Could a perfume or chemical that blocks mosquitoes from using that olfactory receptor stop them from detecting our sweat? It’s possible, biologist Jeff Riffell added.
4. Being a man
According to a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, men may be more likely to be attacked by bugs compared to women. Much of that is due to size, and the fact that larger people tend to emit greater relative heat or carbon dioxide.
5. Type O Blood
Have Type O blood? Bad news: mosquitoes love you. A 2004 study found that in a controlled setting, mosquitoes landed on folks with Type O blood nearly twice as often as individuals with Type A blood. Those with Type B were somewhere in the middle.
Here are some ways to prevent mosquito bites:
- Use EPA-approved insect repellant (DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 and more)
- Grow these seven mosquito-repelling plants in your garden.
- Eliminate larval habitats in your yards, landscapes to reduce mosquito populations.
- Wear light-colored clothing.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.