The answer to this question is both complex and evolving. In recent years, scientists around the world have been intensely studying mosquitoes in an attempt to reduce the severe health risks presented by mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever. For so much research, it is amazing that there are only a few universally agreed facts.
Firstly, and to be fair to male mosquitoes, it's only the ladies who bite. This is because human blood contains protein-derived nutrients that female mosquitoes use for maternal energy and the production of fertile eggs. They could bite other mammals such as buffaloes and rats, whose blood contains similar nutrients but, wherever humans outnumber buffaloes and rats, we’re the obvious target.
So, have you ever wondered why your ankles look like you’ve had chicken pox whilst no one else around you seems bothered? Well, two in ten people are considered to be highly attractive to mosquitoes, which brings us on to our second known fact…
Studies have shown that genetics account for a huge 85% of our susceptibility to mosquito bites, whether that’s expressed through blood type or metabolic factors. It starts with a single breath. Mosquitoes can detect exhaled carbon dioxide from over 30m away so, as soon as you breathe out, you’re on their radar. Larger people tend to exhale more CO2, which could be why adults get bitten more than children. Pregnant women are also considered more attractive for the same reason.
As the mosquito gets closer on the CO2 trail, its receptors start to pick up the scent of different metabolic chemicals and compounds on your skin such as lactic acid, ammonia, oxidized fatty acids and other volatile molecules. As each human produces all of these different compounds in varying degrees, so do we present varying degrees of attraction to mosquitoes.
On top of the above, heat, movement and even wearing dark colours are all thought to make you more attractive to some degree. Some even argue that drinking beer or taking steroids can up the appeal.
So, if you’re pregnant, wearing black and getting hot and sweaty whilst exercising in a mosquito infested area, make sure you stock up on your PARA'KITO™ products first! Actually, whatever your age, size or gender, just stock up anyway. You have the right to enjoy life naturally free from the irritation and danger of mosquito bites.