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EXPOSED: Reasons Mosquitoes Bite Some More Than Others, Nothing About Smell Of Sweat

9. Not Wearing Mosquito Repellent: According to the CDC, insect-borne illnesses are increasing like crazy. While there were 27,000 a year in 2004, there were a whopping 96,000 in 2016 — and mosquito bites in particular can lead to life-threatening infections, including dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. To protect yourself, make sure you always have insect repellent on hand to fight off the blood-sucking pests: ones that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone as an active ingredient will keep them away.All mosquitos use carbon dioxide as a long-range indicator that a host is nearby
There are more than 3,000 different species of mosquito.

Yet, perhaps surprisingly, only a fraction of them actually feed on human beings – and, even when they do, they discriminate when choosing who’s their next meal.

Some people end up covered in bites, while others escape with only a nibble or two. So why does this happen? And what factors might influence the mosquito’s choice?

Here, as detailed in The Conversation, Richard Halfpenny, a lecturer in biological sciences at Staffordshire University, explains what makes us worth biting.

WHAT ARE THE OLD WIVES’ TALES?

There are many old wives’ tales on the matter, some more plausible than others.

Some think that blood type, having fair skin, being sweaty and even eating foods with garlic or apple cider vinegar can influence biting rates one way or the other.

For the most part, these don’t appear to have much influence when scientifically tested.

What we do know, however, is that all mosquitos use carbon dioxide as a long-range indicator that a host is nearby.

This initially alerts them, then – when they get closer to us – lactic acid, which is much more prevalent in human odour than other animals, further attracts them.

Other significant attractants are carboxylic acids, acetone and sulcatone.

Of course, this doesn’t tell us why some are generally bitten more than others, it just explains why humans end up as a mosquito’s meal and not a bird, cow or lizard.

 

The human skin’s microbiota 

The best evidence for what motivates a mosquito’s choice between different people is the variation in our skin microbiota.

We have an estimated 1m bacteria per square cm of skin, often comprising hundreds of species.

The odour this emits from our pores and hair follicles is the critical factor in telling mosquitoes how tasty we’d be.

In other words, mosquitoes don’t select somebody for their inner biology, but rather for the micro-organisms that live on their skin.

The composition of our skin microbiota mostly depends on our environment – what we eat and where we live.

Everything we touch, eat, drink and wash with has the potential to introduce new microbes, but the genetic variation is also thought to affect how hospitable our skin is to the various species of microbes.

This may be through the genetically controlled production of proteins in the skin that acts as barriers and prevents microbes from establishing and growing on the skin, or through more mundane aspects such as a person’s tendency to sweat or how oily their skin is.

It’s worth remembering that, as pure sweat has no discernible odour, sweating itself may not be responsible for attracting mosquitoes.

Rather, the variation in the chemical composition of sweat, and sweat production rates between people might result in beneficial conditions for some microbes that can attract mosquitoes.

While we’re pretty sure that mosquitoes choose their human hosts according to the bacteria which live on our skin, it’s less clear why they prefer the odour signature of some skin’s microbial life over others.

If we could learn this secret, perhaps we could change our skin’s bacterial composition to make ourselves less appetizing targets.  (Daily Mail)

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Eight Things That Attract More Mosquitoes Bites |The Republican News

Mosquito-feeding

 

New research has revealed that mosquitoes prey on their victims due to a number of factors.

They also say that the species of mosquitoes you are exposed to can determine whether or not you are going to be bitten.

So, why do mosquitoes bite you? These reasons…

• Beer. Some studies reveal that mosquitoes are attracted to beer drinkers, though this is only relevant to one type of mosquito.

• Type O Blood. If you have Type O blood running through your veins, you’re prime candidate for mosquito bites! Research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that mosquitoes were 83.3 percent more likely to land on type O carriers than type A carriers. Again, this appears to apply to one particular species of mosquito.

• Pregnancy. In 2003, an experiment was conducted in eastern Sudan to see if mosquitoes were more attracted to pregnant women than non-pregnant women. The results, published on NCBI, found that out of the 18 women, the nine pregnant women attracted significantly more mosquitoes, especially ones that were carrying malaria. This could be because of raised temperature and how women’s body odour changes during pregnancy. Again, only one species of mosquito is attracted to pregnant women.

• Gender. Interestingly, only female mosquitoes bite, as the nutritional value of blood helps develop their eggs. They also seem to prefer to bite more men, but women are more badly affected by a bite. Women reportedly get bigger and itchy bites, but men are more likely to be attacked.

• Genes. There is also the belief that mosquitoes could be attracted to you because of your genetic makeup. An indicator of this could be if you have a bad reaction to a bite, such as the size of the bite or the intensity of the itchiness.

• Carbon dioxide. This one is quite hard to avoid, as your body naturally produces around 2.3 pounds of carbon dioxide a day, which is breathed out through your lungs. Well, you have to breathe, so you can’t avoid mosquito bites by withholding your breath. Good news, though: Mosquitoes tend to prefer people who emit more than the standard levels of carbon dioxide—a situation that is common among pregnant women and overweight people.

• Lactic acid. Mosquitoes love the lactic acid that the body produces when you work out. The acid is released as you sweat, making you a prime target, especially if you are hot and tired.

• Bacteria. If you have lots of different bacteria on your skin, mosquitoes will be less attracted to you. The chemicals that build up your natural smell could repel them. A study published in PLOS showed that a group of people with a more diverse colony of bacteria were less likely to attract mosquitoes than those with less. (Punchng.com)

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