Why does a mosquito bite a person more compared to his neighbor?« Back to Questions List

Have you ever experienced more or less mosquito bites compared to the person sitting adjacent to you?  The chances are high. Who do this tiny creature carry such a discrimination or a selective preference? The reason is simple; taste preferences of mosquitoes that they distinguish through smell differentiation. 


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The first sensing of the prey by the mosquito occurs mainly through identification of presence of increased carbon dioxide. This gives an indication to the mosquito that a living breathing thing is nearby. Having identified the scope for a tasty meal, better smelling capabilities now start to control the mosquitoes.  

Certain characteristics that make mosquitoes to offer preferential treatments include body temperature, alcohol, pregnancy and odorant marks based on blood type. People with different blood groups release different chemicals and these are called blood type markers. So the chemical released by a person with B blood group may be different from that released by a person with A blood group.  One study has revealed that people with O blood attracts more mosquito bites. Smell of perspiration also differs from person to person. Pregnant women exhale more carbon dioxide and their body temperature is on an average 1.26 Degree Fahrenheit higher around belly. Similarly, content of alcohol in blood causes change in body smell. Thus the chemicals and other signals released by our body play a major role in attracting or distracting the mosquitoes.


You might have observed that when we rub some plant leaves on our skins, mosquitoes leave us without disturbing. The mosquitoes mistook us for some plants. Citronella works in this way. Some people say that garlic eaters suffer mosquito bites. Mosquito repellents also work by emitting peculiar smells that are unattractive to mosquitoes. As in the case of humans, mosquitoes may also have different preferences. That is why same mosquito repellent does not become effective against all mosquitoes.  This reason has prevented discovery of perfect mosquito repellent.


Certain diseases like malaria are transmitted through mosquito bites. Hence scientists are carrying on with researches to pinpoint the specific reasons that attract mosquitoes to a particular person. 


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