Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Why do they sting me?

Have you ever wondered why mosquitoes repeatedly bite the same people when others in the same place have only a few or no bites? Maybe among the unfortunate there is you, who are reading, and you must have been told that you have "sweet blood". This is only a popular belief and arises from the fact that pollinating insects, such as bees and mosquitoes, are attracted to sweet substances, in fact. But if it is true that mosquito males feed on nectar, sap and fruit juices, only females suck our blood as they need proteins useful for the maturation and development of eggs.

And then, if you are looking for a reason that explains the relentlessness of these insects towards you, according to several studies there are at least 11:

• Your blood group: People with blood group 0 are twice as likely to attract mosquitoes as people with group A. Group B is somewhere between 2. Each group emits a different chemical signal that mosquitoes can perceive.

• Your breath: mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we emit during exhalation, managing to catch it up to 164 meters away. Corpulent subjects are preferred over children because they have a faster and deeper breath.

• You are a sporty type: physical activity increases the presence in the muscles of lactic acid, of which mosquitoes perceive the smell. It also eliminates more carbon dioxide, especially in movement and physical exertion. Some supplements increase the amount of ammonia and uric acid that you excrete with sweat and this also attracts them. In addition, the body temperature is higher during exercise, which would seem to be another element that particularly appeals to mosquitoes.

• Are you pregnant: you release more carbon dioxide with exhalation than average, you have a higher sweating and your body temperature is higher.

• You drank a can of beer: even if the researchers could not find out the precise cause of the phenomenon, you have a greater chance of being stung. This may be due to an increase in the concentration of ethanol and acetone in your sweat, the fact that alcohol intake leads to more sweating, or the fact that it increases body temperature, or a combination of the latter two.

• You are not repellent: there are no repellents in your sweat, so mosquitoes like you. 

• Cutaneous bacteria: They transform the secretions of your sweat glands into volatile compounds that reach nearby mosquitoes. These little beings are mainly present on the feet and ankles and this would explain why mosquitoes bite you more frequently at the extremities.

• You have high cholesterol: mosquitoes find you more appetizing.

• Question of hormones: high concentrations of steroids attract more mosquitoes.

• A matter of genes: simply because it is you! Our genes actually affect a number of factors such as sweat, metabolism and body heat, which can make us more vulnerable.

• Your outfit: mosquitoes prefer black, red, gray and blue in the order; they attract less their attention the khaki, green and yellow.

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