AUG 10, 2017 5:31 AM PDT

Yes, Mosquitoes Prefer Certain People Over Others

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

In a hiking or camping group, there are some people who bear the brunt of mosquito bites. By contrast, some lucky people on the same trip will inevitably proclaim not to have endured a single bite. Anecdotal evidence would seem to suggest that mosquitoes have a preference for who they want as their victim, and science agrees.

As it turns out, some people are more attractive to mosquitoes simply by their body chemistry. For starters, people who produce more carbon dioxide are natural targets for mosquitoes, as this compound is what the tiny terrors use to locate their next victim. And people who expel more carbon dioxide in their breath include those who are overweight, and those who are pregnant.

Mosquitoes also love the scent of sweat. Compounds in sweat, such as lactic acid, ammonia, uric acid, are extremely attractive to mosquitoes. This means that people who exercise outdoors should have plenty of bug repellent at the ready, as mosquitoes are sure to find their next meal from them.

Watch the video to learn more ways mosquitoes use to mark their victims, and perhaps next time, you'll be the one who's spared!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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