Do you have that friend who, post-outdoor BBQ/camping trip, seems to return with far more mosquito bites than everyone else? Or are you that person, perhaps?  I seem to get bitten a LOT each summer, no matter how much bug spray I douse myself in. Yet my sister seems to possess a magical power that allows her to sit a mere few feet away from me at the 4th of July fireworks, not bother with bug spray, and not receive a single bug bite.

All frustrations aside, I do find this curious. I happened to bring up the question "why do some people get bit more than others?" to a professor whose lab I work in, Dr. Craig Cady. (Side note: the lab is actually a stem cell lab, but Dr. Cady received his Ph.D. in entomology, so you could say he's a reliable source..)

Dr. Cady says that bug bite frequency boils down to a few main variables: CO2 generated from the person, CO2 present in the blood, heat generated from the person, and levels of various acidic elements or other compounds in the blood, such as lactic acid or cholesterol. Now, just because I get a lot of bug bites does not necessarily mean I have abnormally high cholesterol levels--it is possible that my body is more efficient at processing cholesterol, a component of cell membranes.

As for the lactic acid (or anything else acidic, for that matter), bugs love it. I do happen to be a pretty physically active person, especially during warmer parts of the year (all-day beach outings? Yes, please.) So, it would make sense that I might have somewhat higher amounts of lactic acid circulating through me, along with the fact that I’m producing more CO2 and heat as I run/bike/swim/rollerblade/jetpack/pogo-stick around.

A bunch of research has been conducted (and still is being conducted) regarding why bugs show personal preference to certain individuals. Other possible variables that scientists are considering include blood type (studies have shown possible correlation with O Types), metabolism, and the amount of naturally occurring bacteria found on human skin (the germier the better, apparently.)

So there you have it! As with many weirdish phenomena, there definitely isn’t one set trait that makes some people more attractive to mosquitoes. Even though there's definitely still work to be done in narrowing down all these factors, and figuring out what factors are present person to person, this question won’t be “bugging” me any longer!

Sources: Dr. Craig Cady at Bradley University, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-do-mosquitoes-bite-some-people-more-than-others-10255934/


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Comments

08/15/2015 2:59am

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Andrea
10/30/2015 6:40am

Thank you so much!! Glad you liked it!

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01/01/2017 12:56pm

I am not really an outdoor person. I prefer being under a roof enclosed in screen doors because I hate mosquitos that much. It's really frustrating when I am in an open air place. I heard mosquitos are attracted only to some humans and not to everyone. For some reasons they love me so much. I don't really want to kill them because it is against the religion I try to follow but I wish to stay away from them.

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Such an informative post! Mosquitoes and bugs are really irritating. Our family makes sure to clean our house so that they would not get attracted to us. And sometimes, when we go outside, we buy some mosquito repellents in order to let them stay away from us. We must be always protected from these insects because they are all carriers of disease.

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04/06/2016 6:19am

I want to thank you for publishing such an instructional blog. As well as will certainly await your next post.

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05/02/2016 4:21am

I am that person. Unfortunately for me.

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05/12/2016 5:55am

Awesome post thanks.

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Etta Eckerstrom
07/28/2016 3:51pm

Mattie needs to read this

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08/07/2016 1:58pm

Really good post

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10/17/2016 2:14am

Mosquito are really annoying sometime and they really know how to irritate the person when he or she really wants to take some rest. There had never been a permanent idea to get rid of them.

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12/05/2016 1:41am

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02/24/2017 8:52am

This is a little summer troubles. Nothing much!

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05/15/2017 1:39am

thanks for sharing this info!!

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05/18/2017 3:44am

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05/18/2017 4:28am

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06/10/2017 12:18am

Nice Post. It’s really a very good article. I noticed all your important points. Thanks 

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06/10/2017 2:44am

I really like your post so much.. Thank you for sharing! :)

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06/10/2017 2:50am

Great site. I add this Post to my bookmarks.

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06/20/2017 12:10pm

I love this post.

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07/02/2017 9:07pm

Mosquito are big trouble in our are since there are mountain and rivers so they have easy to breed environment and when do hiking and cycling these dirty insects make a lot of trouble for us.

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07/08/2017 3:29pm

Thanks for share knowledge.

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