Mosquitoes don’t love all of us equally. If you feel like one of the more appetizing humans who get a lot of bites, it turns out there are a few reasons. Firstly, these blood-sucking insects follow our breaths. We inhale oxygen, and exhale carbon dioxide. The larger you are, the more carbon dioxide you breathe out. That explains why kids get less bug bites.
If you’re exercising, you’re breathing even more. After a mosquito sniffs you out, it will start looking for a large, warm object. (That’s you). They also smell and taste your skin which is different for everyone. Research on mosquito preferences finds that some species prefer the flavours associated with certain genetics. We each have different bacteria living on our skin, and that seems to affect mosquitoes’ preferences as well. So how do you make yourself less appetizing?
Some studies have found that people get bitten more often if they’ve been drinking alcohol, or if they have a certain blood type (O), but those factors are likely to vary between mosquito species and cannot really be helped. One thing a lot of mosquitoes look for is lactic acid, found in sweat. If you’ve been sweating, it might help to take a shower or wipe off the sweat. Moving around disrupts that carbon dioxide “plume” they are searching for so find a breezy spot to sit, or turn on a fan.