Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others?

Discover the scientific reasons behind why some people may get bitten by insects, like mosquitoes, more often than others. Explore factors such as genetics, attractiveness, and effective repellents

Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others?
If you have ever felt like mosquitoes are more attracted to you than to others, you might be right. Research shows that certain factors make some people more appealing to these pesky insects. In this article, we will explore the science behind why mosquitoes may bite you more often than others and provide tips on how to avoid becoming their next meal.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview of Mosquitoes
  2. Blood Types and Mosquito Preferences
  3. Carbon Dioxide: A Mosquito Attraction
  4. Body Heat and Mosquito Bites
  5. Sweat: A Mosquito Magnet
  6. Skin Bacteria and Mosquito Preferences
  7. Pregnancy and Mosquito Attraction
  8. Beer Consumption and Mosquito Bites
  9. Diet and Mosquito Attraction
  10. Clothing Color and Mosquito Bites
  11. Tips to Avoid Mosquito Bites

1. Overview of Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are small, flying insects that can transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus. They feed on the blood of humans and animals to obtain the proteins and nutrients necessary for egg production. Only female mosquitoes bite, while males feed on plant nectar.

There are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes, but only a few are responsible for transmitting diseases to humans. The most common disease-carrying species include Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, and Anopheles gambiae.

2. Blood Types and Mosquito Preferences

Research suggests that mosquitoes prefer certain blood types over others. Studies have found that mosquitoes are more attracted to:

  • Type O blood: The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has a preference for Type O blood.
  • Type AB blood: The marsh mosquito (Anopheles gambiae) is more attracted to people with Type AB blood.

Furthermore, around 80% of people emit a secretion that indicates their blood type. Mosquitoes may be more drawn to these individuals, regardless of their blood type.

3. Carbon Dioxide: A Mosquito Attraction

Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide (CO2) we exhale. They can detect CO2 from a considerable distance, making it an essential cue for locating potential hosts.

Larger individuals tend to exhale more CO2, making them more attractive targets for mosquitoes. As we exhale CO2 through our nose and mouth, mosquitoes are also drawn to our heads.

Mosquitoes can spot humans from a distance of 5 to 15 meters (approximately 16 to 49 feet), making it relatively easy for them to find their prey.

4. Body Heat and Mosquito Bites

Female mosquitoes are attracted to body heat. They may choose to fly toward people even when other heat sources are available.

You may notice more mosquito bites if you exercise outdoors, spend time outside on hot days, or have a higher body temperature. Individuals who "run hot" may be more prone to mosquito bites.

5. Sweat: A Mosquito Magnet

Mosquitoes are drawn to the compounds found in human sweat, such as lactic acid, ammonia, and other chemicals. Individuals who sweat more or spend time outdoors on hot days may be more susceptible to mosquito bites.

6. Skin Bacteria and Mosquito Preferences

The bacteria on our skin, combined with sweat, produce a unique fragrance that can attract mosquitoes. Some research indicates that the types and amounts of bacteria on a person's skin can influence the number of mosquito bites they receive.

In one study, researchers found that participants who were highly attractive to mosquitoes had a larger community of bacteria on their skin but less diversity compared to those who were not as appealing to mosquitoes. This suggests that specific combinations of bacteria may make certain individuals more attractive to mosquitoes.

Additionally, mosquitoes may be particularly drawn to ankles and feet, as these areas tend to have high bacterial growth.

7. Pregnancy and Mosquito Attraction

Some mosquito species are more attracted to pregnant individuals. Although research in this area is limited, one study conducted in Africa found that pregnant people attracted twice as many mosquitoes as non-pregnant individuals.

Researchers believe this increased attraction may be due to:

  • Carbon dioxide: Pregnant individuals in late pregnancy exhale 21% more CO2 than non-pregnant individuals.
  • Body heat: The abdomens of pregnant people were found to be approximately one degree warmer than their non-pregnant counterparts.

8. Beer Consumption and Mosquito Bites

Surprisingly, mosquitoes seem to have a taste for beer. One study found that significantly more mosquitoes were attracted to participants who consumed one liter of beer compared to those who drank a liter of water.

The exact reason for this increased attraction is still unclear, as no correlation was found between alcohol consumption and CO2 exhalation or skin temperature. However, the findings suggest that taking precautions against mosquitoes when consuming alcohol may be wise.

9. Diet and Mosquito Attraction

It is commonly believed that certain foods can make you more attractive to mosquitoes. Consuming sweet, salty, spicy, or potassium-rich foods is thought to increase mosquito attraction.

Although research in this area is limited, one study from the University of Wisconsin identified bananas as a food that may increase mosquito attraction. The study, published in the journal Insects, found that eating a banana increased the frequency of contacts with mosquitoes and the number of bites received.

10. Clothing Color and Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes use their eyes to locate potential hosts, and research has shown that they are more attracted to certain colors. Green and black surfaces were found to be more appealing to mosquitoes than white or gray surfaces, suggesting that mosquitoes can more easily spot these colors.

If you tend to receive more mosquito bites, it may be because mosquitoes can see you more easily. Opting for lighter colors, such as pastels, beige, or white, may help reduce your mosquito appeal.

11. Tips to Avoid Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites are not only annoying but can also pose health risks, as mosquitoes can transmit diseases. To minimize the number of mosquito bites you receive, consider taking the following precautions:

Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard

Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water. To reduce the mosquito population in your yard:

  • Remove items that collect rainwater, such as old tires.
  • Empty items that catch rainwater after storms.
  • Change the water in fountains and bird baths at least once a week.
  • Clean your roof gutters to ensure proper water flow.

Landscaping can also help deter mosquitoes. Keep your lawn trimmed and plant insect-repellent vegetation, such as:

  • Lavender
  • Marigold
  • Citronella grass (lemongrass)
  • Catmint
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Allium

Use Insect Repellents

Insect repellents can be effective in preventing mosquito bites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using products approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and containing the following ingredients:

  • DEET
  • IR3535
  • Picaridin (KBR 3023)

If you prefer natural alternatives, several essential oils have been found to repel mosquitoes. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is considered the most effective natural mosquito repellent. Citronella oil can also provide some protection.

Other natural mosquito repellents with limited research on their effectiveness include:

  • Rose geranium oil
  • Patchouli oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Clove oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Cedar oil
  • Neem oil


Mosquitoes do indeed find some people more attractive than others. Factors such as blood type, CO2 exhalation, body heat, sweat, skin bacteria, pregnancy, beer consumption, and clothing color can all influence mosquito attraction.

To reduce mosquito bites, consider modifying your outdoor habits, taking steps to keep mosquitoes out of your yard, and using insect repellent.