Traveling is one of my favorite activities to do. I love the anticipation, the planning, and the uncertainty. I love hearing new languages, sleeping in new beds, and learning about new cultures. Other than the airplane rides (which terrify me), there are few things about exploring the world that don’t get me thrilled.
Except the mosquitoes.
Ah, yes, those pesky little critters that gravitate toward me like I gravitate toward peanut butter and chocolate. I’m a constant magnet for mosquito bites and they leave me swollen, red and itchy for days after the vacation has subsided.
To be sure, approximately 20 percent of people are mosquito magnets (aka “high attractor types”). Turns out there are quite a few reasons for this. Here’s a look at why you may be bitten more than your BFF who simply cannot understand why you keep scratching until it hur
I’m not good at sitting still, and it turns out this tendency of mine makes me more attractive to the female mosquitoes who seek out extra protein for their egg-laying days. After all, movement proves I’m a living, breathing vessel of scrumptious blood.
Mosquitoes apparently enjoy feasting on those of us who run hotter than others. I’m sure there’s an inappropriate joke to be had here, but I’ll refrain. Because of this, people who exercise are more susceptible to the pests, as are people who have a higher body mass and those that are pregnant (pregnancy elevates temp an average of 1.26 degrees).
Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide emission from as far as 164 feet away using this neat organ called a maxillary palp. The bigger you are, the more carbon dioxide you tend to emit, which explains why children tend to have fewer bites when standing near more carbon dioxide-emitting adults. This is another strike against pregnancy, as pregnant women tend to emit 21 percent more CO2.
At least one small study concluded that those of us with Type O blood are far more appealing to mosquitoes than those with Type A.
And you thought drinking alcohol only garnered the attention of fellow humans. Nope. Although it’s unclear how the pests can detect the presence of ethanol, studies show that drinking a mere 12 ounces of beer makes the ladies (er, female mosquitoes) appear.
“Hey, baby, nice microbes” may not be the most alluring pick-up line, but for mosquitoes, it works. We all have glorious flora microbes covering our skin. In fact, we have more microbes than we do skin cells. But some of us have the luxury of saying that the composition of our microbes is better than others – at least to mosquitoes.
In short, if you want to reduce the chances of being a mosquito magnet, there are a few things you must do, stat: Avoid drinking alcohol; avoid getting pregnant; avoid breathing; avoid moving, and oh, change your genetic makeup. Or just use insect repellant.