In fact, the little buggers can detect carbon dioxide up to 180 to 230 feet away.1 As they fly closer to you and sense your body heat, they’ll start picking up other clues on this list, like body odor, which can solidify your blood meal status.
Since it’s not possible to stop releasing carbon dioxide, it’s worth keeping this factor in mind (and taking extra precautions) before intense outdoor training in really buggy areas. , especially during peak mosquito hours at dawn or dusk.
3. You sweat.
On that note, if you’re breathing heavily in the hot summer sun, sweating is likely unavoidable, which « also marks you as a target, » says Dr. Ascher. That’s because mosquitoes are attracted to lactic acid, an important compound in sweat, especially when combined with carbon dioxide, Dr. Pereira says. « Because active people produce a lot of lactic acid, mosquitoes are strongly attracted to them, » he notes. In fact, research shows that mosquitoes have a distinct odor receptor in their antennae that reacts to chemicals in human sweat.2
4. You prefer to wear dark clothes.
Yes, these insects are attracted to dark colors on high contrast backgrounds, simply because you might be easier to spot once the carbon dioxide attracts them, according to a 2022 article published in Nature Communication.3 For example, if you’re lounging on the bright green grass while wearing a black shirt during the day, you might be a treat for little mosquito eyes. Consider switching to lighter colored clothing in the summer, this has the added benefit of helping you feel cooler in the heat.
5. You happen to be pregnant.
With all the bodily changes you face during pregnancy, you’d think the insect world would have the decency to leave you alone. Unfortunately, mosquitoes are particularly attracted to pregnant women, Dr. Ascher says, and it comes down to two factors: greater carbon dioxide production and higher body temperature. The hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy cause you to breathe deeper and faster, according to experts at Harvard Health, ultimately causing you to release more mosquito-attracting carbon dioxide. Also, as the uterus expands, it pushes against the abdomen, which can put pressure on the lungs, contributing to labored breathing.
As for body temperature? During pregnancy, the fetus also emits heat, which increases your overall body temperature. Again, this can make you even more attractive to mosquitoes, who seek warmth.3
6. Your blood type might even play a role.
A few mosquitoes strength have a preference for a specific blood type, Dr. Periera explains, because some species may have evolved around groups of people who had more than one blood type. A small 2019 study published in the American Journal of Entomology found this to be the case with type O blood, in particular, but this research was done in a controlled environment, so Dr. Periera says to take this finding with a grain of salt. « Despite all preferences, mosquitoes will still bite people of different blood types. »
Here’s how to prevent mosquito bites, even if they seem to be super attracted to you.
Alright, so you know mosquitoes seem to love you, but what can you do about it? Here are some expert-approved ways to reduce your risk of a knobby bite: