Some people are perfectly at ease sitting outside in nice weather, while others are surrounded by swarms of mosquitoes. Researchers have discovered that being a “mosquito magnet” is actually a legitimate thing.
So, what is the reason why some people are mosquito magnets while others are not?
According to a study published in the journal Cell, researchers suggest that certain body odors are responsible for this decision. For this study, they asked 64 volunteers to wear nylon stockings around their forearms to pick up their skin smells.
Researchers cut the stockings into pieces and placed two of them from different participants in a closed container with female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (which transmit Zika virus, dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya). The study's researchers discovered that Subject 33 was the biggest mosquito magnet after assigning each participant a number. Compared with the next most attractive participant, the subject was four times as attractive. Researchers found that the biggest mosquito magnet was 100 times more attractive to mosquitoes than the least attractive participant.
In the study, researchers found that “Skin odor is one of the main factors that attract mosquitoes to humans”.
In addition to skin odor, the researchers found that certain blood types are more attractive to mosquitoes, especially type O blood. There is such a difference in preference that mosquitoes prefer Type O blood almost twice as much as Type A.
The Mosquito’s Detection Mechanism
According to research, CpA neurons in female mosquitoes possess a receptor for detecting carbon dioxide, so they can sense the plumes of the air we exhale.
Different people produce different kinds of skin odor due to their different bacteria makeup. The researchers explain that mosquitoes are able to differentiate among people based on their skin odor but humans cannot detect this scent.
Which chemical is responsible for this fragrance?
The researchers discovered that mosquitoes were more drawn to people whose skin produced large levels of carboxylic acids, which is made up of each person's individual scent profile. In addition, the researchers discovered that despite dietary or grooming routine changes, people's attractiveness to mosquitoes remained constant over time.
So, how can you prevent yourself if you are a mosquito magnet?
According to researchers, there isn’t much you can do if you are a mosquito magnet, since mosquito attraction remains constant over time regardless of diet or grooming habits.
However, as Desiderius Erasmus said ‘Prevention is better than cure.’
To minimize the risk of bites, you can take some extra precautions.
You can use mosquito repellant when you go outside.
Wear clothes that cover your whole body like a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
Don’t let standing water pile up around your house in buckets, flower pots, or trash bins which can act as the breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Avoid floral perfumes and deodorants that can help you avoid mosquito bites.
You can use a mosquito net while sleeping.