Do you ever wonder why mosquitoes tend to swarm certain people and ignore others? Have you experienced being targeted by dozens of them while the others around you seem to be miraculously spared?
You can’t simply blame this on bad luck.
According to experts, mosquitoes do have biting preferences. Previously, it was established that mosquitoes have higher preferences for people who produce more carbon dioxide such as beer drinkers and pregnant women.
Moreover, a report by WebMD revealed that individuals with high concentration of steroids or cholesterol on their skin surface tend to attract more mosquitoes. Dr. Jerry Buttler, professor emeritus at the University of Florida, explained that having higher overall cholesterol level doesn’t necessarily make you an instant target. According to him, these individuals can be more efficient in processing cholesterol and the byproducts which remain on the skin’s surface are the ones that attract mosquitoes.
Meanwhile, Dr. John Edman, a spokesman for the Entomological Society of America, said mosquitoes also target people who produce excess amounts of acids such as uric acid. These triggers the mosquitoes’ sense smell.
Still, researchers are trying to crack the code behind why mosquitoes prefer to bite some people more than others.
“There’s a tremendous amount of research being conducted on what compounds and odors people exude that might be attractive to mosquitoes,” said Dr. Joe Conlon, American Mosquito Control Association’s technical advisor.
A new study in PLOS One revealed that certain chemicals produced by the microbes in our body actually attract particular species of mosquitoes. Interestingly, each person shares only a small fraction of their microbial species with each other. Our genes actually influence which microbes will actually thrive in our bodies.
Microbes, which outnumber our own human cells, are responsible for producing chemicals and vitamins in our blood. Furthermore, most of our smells and odors are actually produced by microbes.
This means that your own personal microbes actually determine whether you’ll be a good target for mosquitoes or not.